Exhilarated Indian fans went to sleep with peace in their hearts as India crushed England’s hope of a clean sweep by chasing a massive total of 316 runs, leading to a 3-3 equalizer. The five sixes that Yuvraj gave away in the last over was like a nightmare not only for the dedicated cricketer but even for the millions of fans admiring and celebrating each single stroke of our batsmen. But it must be mentioned that it was a fabulous display of team effort beginning with a spectacular partnership of Sachin and Ganguly, carried forward by Gambhir and Dhoni and eventually given finishing touch by Robin Utthapa, who lead the team to this dramatic win with focus and grit in the crucial overs. But the bigger task, the much-awaited FINAL match was still in the offing, to challenge their skills and toughness in the field.
While our team celebrated in England its well deserved victory, supported by a billion voices singing praises for their unparalleled spirit, nobody knew what the last one-dayer held in store for them. Finally, THE day arrived and India’s 11 were all set to rewrite the history that Kapil Dev had initiated in 1983 during the World Cup and Sourav Ganguly had followed by winning the NatWest series at Lord’s historic stadium in 2002. Many people formed the opinion that Lords was a lucky charm for the Indian Cricket Team and had well-anticipated their victory keeping at the back of their mind the spectacular performance in the previous match. But to our disaster, the Indian innings collapsed to a meager total of 187 runs after choosing to bat first, thus crashing the hopes and aspirations of the curious fans weaving dreams of a breathtaking win. The shattered Indian team resumed with its bowling hoping for a miracle which almost had its foundation laid, when the England were thrashed to 11/2, but eventually the sustained efforts of Pietersen and Collingwood saw them through the initial pitfall. Well, the fact that England is not too inexperienced a side to screw up a final in response to a petite run chase that India offered, was the prime reason of the final disappointment.
While the series had its highs and lows, finally it was the more deserving England that clinched the title of the champions of the NatWest and India had a lesson to learn and march forward to the forthcoming challenges that the cricket world has in store for them.
So our prayers go out for the India cricket team and we hope the players ponder over their shortcomings and figure out a reason for their sudden inconsistent performances so that India can surely justify the tag of “A Cricket Freak Nation”.