The pundits have always called cricket a game of glorious uncertainties and go to the extent of saying that one match can have several ‘turning points’. This game is such a complex flip-flop between exhilaration and stress that if you’re one of those who watch a match on the television, it is the faces of the spectators that give you your worth for the time spent. And when the match happens to be an IPL final, well, the ‘oohs!’ and the ‘aahs!’ simply seemed to come in unstoppable streams.
The night of the 1st of June 2014… the night when KKR or the Kolkata Knight Riders fought and won the battle against KingsXI in the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru will be remembered by me for five rather insane reasons. (The reasons are not in a chronological order as they happened during the match)
The last ball of the second last over was about to be bowled and I said, ‘Chawla just might mess this one now.’ What I meant was that Johnson, the bowler who was bowling, would outwit Piyush Chawla, the bowler who was batting… but then the unexpected happened. Johnson got hit for a six!
‘This is insane!’ I shouted. But the truth is that minutes before this happened, I had actually murmured: ‘This match will have a tame ending. No punch left. No bite there. KKR is doomed.’ And then when an unexpected six explodes the screen, all you can do is whisper, ‘Turning point!’
IPL is where big money is paid to big players and spectators come with big expectations to see the big players hit big scores… but this happened to be one match where Saha of KingsXI scores 115 in 55 balls and he isn’t a big name… Manish Pandey reached his 50 in 31 balls and until the time he got out, he was the man who could have brought victory into the lap of KKR even before the last over was bowled – and he isn’t a big star… it was a treat to watch the squiggly Akshar Patel and the innocent Karanveer bowl marvels to make the biggies sweat and squirm!
‘This is insane!’ I murmured as I realised that big names like Uthappa, Gambhir, Sehwag, and Narine remained undramatic, and so I went on with my murmured forecast, ‘This match will be a turning point in the careers of these not-so-big players.’
The moment I realised that the two teams in the finals had actually played and walked away with a total of 25 crore INR, I was more than just surprised. This game is surely going to encourage hordes of new players to enter the fray and this won’t be just because the format is dynamic now or that a lot of cheer girls in skimpy clothes jump around to raise heartbeats or that the media goes ga-ga over this game… the crores that flow in as the prize money is surely enough to become the ‘turning point’ for quite a few who keep wondering if it is worth jumping into the ruthlessly competitive world of cricket or not.
But then, do you realise that there is prize money of 15 crores is for the winning team?
‘This is insane!’ I muttered as I desperately wished that cricket really needs to have an IPL for amateurs above 55 too… I mean those 50-somethings who still think they’re just 21!
My nephew was sitting with me late in the night and as we watched the two teams alternate between the extremes of doom and exhilaration, he informed me that Sunil Narine ‘opted to stay behind in India to represent Kolkata Knight Riders in Sunday’s Indian Premier League (IPL) final against Kings XI Punjab, instead of returning to join the ongoing West Indies camp by the stipulated June 1 deadline’… now this is a big decision and can certainly be the ‘turning point’ if Narine is allowed to retain his berth in his country’s team despite his deliberate absence.
As I understood the seriousness of Narine’s decision and the impact it would have on the future of cricket, I had no choice but to say, ‘This is insane!’
So will I remember this match because Yusuf Pathan began his smashing stay on the crease with a six? Will I remember this match because of Karanveer’s ball that Gambhir could not read and ended up lobbing an easy catch to Miller? Will I remember this match because of the valiant effort of Bailey to hold on to the difficult catch that Pandey smashed towards him? Will I remember this match because of Bailey’s direct hit on the stumps to get Shaquib out? Will I remember this match because of the flurry of runs scored by the lower order to turn the tide in favour of KKR?
It is a big NO for all the above.
I will remember this match that the ‘Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo!’mumbo-jumbo won despite the voting statistics shown after the match that more than two-third of India wanted KKR to lose. Or was it that two-third of India wanted Kings XI to win?
‘This is insane!’ I said when I saw this sort of analytics shown on the screen, and then added, ‘This is a game of glorious uncertainties!’
As I switched off the lights and walked to my bedroom to write my post for this match, all I could murmur was: ‘Matches are won when you get runs when you need them most!’
02 June 2014
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This article was published in ‘The Education Post’ dated 02 June 2014…