Millennium Post

Proud of our boys

The path to glory never came to a close. Rather the success that the current Indian team has achieved can probably never be undone and hence, glory has been achieved even though India won’t be the team competing for the World Cup at Eden Gardens. The success that the Indian men’s team have achieved after their initial loss to the Kiwi’s during their first group game of the tournament has been quite commendable. Many may argue that Virat was the man leading the team to victory but Dhoni of all was definitely the leader in every way possible. However, having said that, Virat’s commitment to winning too can’t be ruled away. The Indian women’s cricket team on the other hand also had a series of good games. Though they are out of the tournament, a few extremely close games, especially the one against Pakistan could have seen them still playing if the game was played at any other day. However, the spirit of Cricket was at its Zenith when the women’s team cheered for Indian men’s team with extreme enthusiasm even after their own defeat. 

After New Zealand took the Dhoni and co down in the first game, the Indian team had got itself into a much win situation. Something which I’m sure any team would look to avoid with the whole tournament left to play. The next game between India and Pakistan was automatically bigger than its already grand stature considering the decades of rivalry. To add to the grandeur, the Cricket Association of Bengal, presided by former India Captain Sourav Ganguly ensured a perfect build up to the game as none other than Amitabh Bachchan, the grand old man of Bollywood kicked off proceedings by singing the national anthem. The match was almost like the finale. Top cricketers including the likes of Sachin Tendulkar along with a bunch of other celebrities hoarded over the 
stadium to witness India’s must win game. As the Indian team began to bowl, the formidable in form Pakistan team was out for a meagre 118, and the chase became as simple. India lost a series of four wickets. The chase suddenly became difficult. However, a certain Virat Kohli stood there displaying his heroics managing to take the team over the line as he bowed down to his idol on reaching a well deserved half century. 

The match against Bangladesh was one which many considered as an easy one. However, Bangladesh are no longer the easy side who were known for upsets. They are competitors and were wounded tigers on the day. A series of good games for Bangladesh got them close to winning the game however, the little margin always ended up as too much. With India though, many thought they were over the line even before the game had come to a close. With two runs remaining of three balls, it was cake walk for Bangladesh. As many turned off their television sets and left the stands, what they failed to witness was the genius of Captain M S Dhoni. Hardik Pandya, the man who took the responsibility of the last over encashed on two stupid shots by Mahmudullah and Rahim which were identical and caught out. 

The gamble had almost paid off as Pandya steamed in to bowl his last over. Only this time, Dhoni wasn’t wearing his right glove predicting the ball to follow. The run out that followed has been replayed forever and is now etched in the memories of millions forever. 

The Indian women’s team on the other hand too started with a big win against the Bangladesh women ensuring their net run rates were on the rise. The games to follow though were a series of bad luck. The game against Pakistan was rain affected which resulted with an initial delay in play resulting in a 16 over game which was followed by a duckworthlewis decision ruled in the favour of Pakistan. That was followed up by yet another close game where Indian women almost bowled out their English opponents but fell short of only a couple of wickets which witnessed their campaign come to a close. However, their cheering continued for their male counterparts with equal enthusiasm throughout the tournament.

Indian men’s team against Australia was a definite quarter final. Both teams were in a must win situation to qualify to the semis. After a sloppy Indian bowling to start with, the Indians eventually managed to restrict their opponents for a competitive 160. However, with the openers failing to perform once again with Yuvraj too finding ankle cramps, 160 looked like a humungous total. The impossible to achieve target though was again achieved as Virat Kohli’s master class with Dhoni’s support managed to see the team walk over the line. Over the years Virat Kohli has not only managed to display is potential as a player but also managed to create a niche which most in the world haven’t witnessed in the past. However, the crucial semi finals didn’t see our team going pass the finish line. The Windies were definitely the better and of course the luckier team on the night. 192 for a semi finals against the West Indians was always a par score which wasn’t defended up to the mark. It is hence that the better team will move to Kolkata to play England in the finals.

There were the Gavaskar’s and the Tendulkar’s however, what Kohli has brought in is a raw determination to win no matter what the situation is. That again might just be the motto for this new India, the India used to winning from impossible situations. Skipper M S Dhoni and co though have taken the game to a different pedestal altogether. Before the current India squad came into existence, a finisher’s role was something one associated with Michael Bevan. Little did they know, that the examples were soon to change. There isn’t possibly a better finisher of the game than Dhoni in modern times. A great example of the same would be the World Cup winning six that has been etched in the memories of millions for a lifetime back in 2011. As far as Kohli’s performance is concerned, Tendulkar has a huge role to play in the contributions of Kohli and hence the bow is of such significance as Kohli reached his 50 during the crucial match at Eden Gardens against Pakistan on the 19th earlier this month. If Tendulkar is the benchmark of perfection, Kohli looks to improve perfection. If Tendulkar hadn’t performed over the years in order to achieve what he did, Kohli would probably not know a target to beat; something which probably isn’t a conscious thought for the star but definitely an unconscious desire that he is set to achieve. On the eve of the finale, we won’t see our boys in blue. However there will be a crowd in Kolkata to support the spirit of cricket. 

There might not be any chants for India or women wanting to marry Kohli but there will still be a silent echo for the boys in blue, who though remain absent but will still be present in the hearts of millions wishing to see the team walk back to glory all over again.

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