Can India ever beat these giants of cricket? The giants who had won in 1975 and 1979, the only two times the World Cup was held? And the giants who, in 1983, were now gunning for a hat trick?
It was way past midnight in India, when at the Lord’s in London, much to our delight, one by one, Gordon Greenridge, Desmond Haynes, Viv Richards, Larry Gomes, Clive Lloyd, SFAF Bachhus, Jeff Dujon, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts, and Michael Holding... all fell down
Yes. It is important to mention all the names of these titans. They were, indeed, a formidable team of that time. I had never known any foreign team’s full batting order as I did the West Indies’ then. Mohinder Amarnath and Madan Lal together, literally ran a truck through the West Indies team taking six wickets, three each. They left two wickets to BS Sandhu, and one each to Roger Binny and Kapil Dev. And, thus the seemingly big and invincible Caribbean team was completely demolished even before they could reach 140 while chasing a target of 183 that India had set.
The giants had fallen! And at the fall of the last wicket, of Michael Holding to Mohinder Amarnath, we had erupted into such loud applause of joy that we almost woke up the entire neighbourhood. What a match!! What a night! When India became the world champions!
Now again, yesterday, as a grown up adult, when Dhoni hit that final six, making India win the World Cup again, I was unable to contain myself, and screamed with the same delight that I had had 28 years ago. Despite that sudden deadly silence that hung in the air when Sehwag and Sachin left the field, Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni brought back cheers to Indians the world over. And the climax was heart-pounding.
Today, one of the friends who had watched that 1983 finals on TV, at the same time, wrote on my facebook wall, saying, ‘Isn’t it surprising that from 14 to 41, the digits of my age have reversed, but my excitement has not diminished’? I had to just say, touché!
Just like the black and white memory I have, of Kapil Dev lifting the Prudential World Cup in 1983, I will now carry in my mind, a colourful picture of this World Cup 2011, of Dhoni and Sachin being carried on the shoulders of their team members. And will I, or will those millions around the world, ever forget the tears of joy on the faces of Yuvraj, Harbhajan and Sachin? Will I, or will those millions around the world ever forget the final six that Dhoni swung into the crowds? It is indeed pure magic. Joy unspeakable.
What a day for us, the cricket-crazy Indians, across the globe that all the years of waiting for a second World Cup are finally over. We had to still struggle, with the three time champions, Australia, with one time champion, Pakistan, and with one time champion, Sri Lanka. But we came through - no, zoomed through - into a final brilliant explosion of sheer delight.
The roar of the crowds on the television, and the roar of the horde of friends in my living room, are still reverberating in my ears, and might take quite a while to subside.-------------------------------------------
Some special credits,
Then, in 1983..
- To Surender anna, in whose house we watched those 1983 matches
- To Deena Kumar bava, whose passion for cricket was simply too contagious to resist
- To Vidya Sagar Karnam and gang with whom we screamed our lungs out
Now, in 2011..
- To Arthi, Pauline and Joyce for the snacks, food, and drinks, (apart from whistles & hoots)
- To Lorraiane and her cheerleaders, for cheering so well that my landlord is now threatening to evict me.
- To Aldrin Bogi, whose comment I used here.
- To my daughters, Jennifer and Janelle, who are still dazed at the behavior of 'adults'.