A beautiful ending
It is less than week since the day we saw Mahela and Sanga embrace each other in a union that spoke of a dream finally fulfilled, a moment that was a poetic justice.
It is less than week since the day we saw Mahela and Sanga embrace each
other in a union that spoke of a dream finally fulfilled, a moment that was a
poetic justice to the contribution these two senior statesmen have made to the
game of cricket. When you really want something to happen, the whole world conspires to
help you achieve it. Yes Paulo we remember what you had written.
Perhaps this was the perfect fairytale ending almighty had in mind for
two of game’s greats in their final T20 game. The scenes that emanated after
Sri Lanka hit the winning runs were reminiscent of Wankhede in 2011. Virat
carried Tendulkar on his shoulders that day. Mahela who had scored a beautiful
century for Sri Lanka looked forlorn wondering what use was a century that
could not win Sri Lanka the World Cup. Cut to Dhaka on Sunday. A forlorn Virat
did not know what had hit him. After scoring truckloads of runs through the
tournament and bursting his lungs out looking to convert every single into a
double, Virat had scored a brilliant 77 in little over 50 balls in the big
finale. This was a T20 equivalent of a hundred, no less.
If you were willing to look beyond Yuvi’s failure, you would have seen
how life comes a full circle. With clinical efficiency and meticulous planning,
Sri Lanka had returned the compliment to Indians and given the best gift that
they could to the retiring duo.
Contrast the perfectly happy ending with the man who has been subject of
great scrutiny for the uncharacteristically slow knock he played on the big
day. When Yuvi had shot that famous commercial – Jab tak balla chal
raha hai, thaat hai – little would he have imagined that those same lines would come to haunt
him one day. Life has cruel ways of putting you in a fix. Sunday was one such day
for the man who was player of the tournament, in yes you know it- the World Cup
If you were willing to look for reasons beyond the obvious, you would
have seen that the seeds of India’s defeat were sown in the first ten overs of
the match itself, even before Yuvraj could arrive at the crease. Sri Lanka’s
strategy of reserving their best towards the end was further strengthened by
some lackluster batting by Rohit and Rahane in the initial overs. While India
was saving their best of batting might for the last, Sri Lanka were successful
in getting away with the weaker links in their bowling department in first ten
Yuvraj, who has struggled against the Lankan spinners throughout his career,
found the going tough. The ego of a sportsman and past memory of domination can
be a funny thing. It makes you stubborn and we saw Yuvi desperately turn the
tide in his favour by hogging most of the strike, trying endlessly to find the
ropes. He didn’t win against his demons that day. More importantly those demons
kept Virat away from the strike and India away from posting a total that could
give its bowling a decent target to defend.
A target of 131 was a no starter against the likes of Mahela and Sangakkara
who have mastered the art of silken maneuvering or marauding depending on the
need of the hour or type of the bowler. When Dhoni came upto the stumps against
Bhuvi, Mahela almost prized the ball out of Dhoni’s gloves to send it
screeching towards third man boundary. The greying beard of Dhoni had seen what
was coming his way. Sanga and Perera merely completed the formalities
If you are one of those who wait for the credits to roll by after the
blockbuster ends, you would have seen Sangakkara embracing a disheartened
Virat, consoling him. In that fleeting moment you could sense that he was
telling Virat that your moment under the sun will come. Justice may be delayed,
but it cannot be denied.
For a man who has given so much to the game of cricket and his fans, I
hope Yuvi finds his moment of justice too. A champion like him does not deserve
to go out on a vanquished note. Life does have a way of coming full circle. There
is a famous win brewing in Yuvi’s minds. This is not his end. This is the start
of something beautiful. Will this IPL be about comeback of Yuvi as the prince of hearts all over again?