Chak de India...
(The girls sang chak de India, and last evening in Mohali the boys in blue did exactly the same by defeating a strong Pakistan outfit in a nail-biting WC cricket semifinal.)
March 30, 2011 will remain a glorious day in the history of Indian cricket. On this day the arch rivals India and Pakistan played an action-packed World Cup Semifinal in front of a cheering crowd, besides PMs of both countries sitting side-by-side. The passion was so high that high-profile politicians like Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Sarad Power, Vijay Mallya and a host of Bollywood celebreties did not wish to miss this life-time experience. It was telecast to 181 countries. Truly, sports have no boundaries. Had there been facilities to telecast on other planets and in other galaxies, there would have been countless viewers, too!
Electing to bat first, Virender Sehwag lit up the Mohali cricket ground to the thunderous applause of thousands of spectators by flurries of hits to the fence off Pak speedmerchant Umar Gul. India, though faultered in the mid-overs, finished 260 for 9 wickets, thanks to Sachin Tendulkar's uncharacteristic 85 with several lives and a breezy 36 at the fag end of the innings by agile Suresh Raina.
260 for 9 did not appear to be adequate to defend against a strong Pak outfit with players like Kamran Akmal, Hafeez, Younis Khan, ever dependable Misbah-ul-Haq and Abdul Razzak and firebrand Shahid Afridi in their rank. But it was not Pakistan's day.
Tight bowling and tight fielding by boys in blue kept Pak batsmen at bay; India did not allow them to build up a long partnership. It was like the proverbial, 'Slow and steady wins the race.' Pakistan buckled under the steady attack, and once Kamran, Younis Khan, Razzak and Afridi departed, the road to Indian victory was clearly visible. Misbah-ul-Haq waged a lone fight, but hitting 5 sixes off 5 balls in last over to score 30 for a possible victory was not destined to be scripted in cricket history on Mar 30, 2011 at Mohali.
India registered a 29-run victory to enter WC cricket final for third time, other two occasons being 1983 when we had won against cricket giants West Indies and 2003 when we failed to chase 300+ runs against Australia in the final.
On April 02, 2011 India and Sri Lanka will lock horns in WC cricket final in Mumbai. While congratulating the team on its historic win in the semi-final, 'Boloji' wishes good luck to Team India, and prays for their victory in WC cricket final!