the one word that came to my mind as i watched the second one day international match between india and the west indies, the first one having aroused very similar sentiments, was passion. the enthusiasm of the crowd was visibly obvious, their gaiety almost infectious. in a games arena, the audience always plays an important role in bringing life to the proceedings, but out here, they took it to a new level altogether. one must see it to probably get an aorta of an idea of what i am speaking about, but i’d be inclined to suggest one must be there, in jamaica, right in the middle of the crowd to really live the experience.
match one. it looked like the nature was going to play spoil sport and my resolve to remain awake was going to be wasted. luckily for me, and for the hundreds of the hundred of expectant fans, the rain gave way and the groundsmen then did the almost magical job of making play possible. 250 odd in 45 overs wasn’t a bad score, although in hindsight, it turned out to be just a little short. the indians didn’t make it easy though, they never do i guess. they just have to lose wickets and take it to a stage where giving away the match wouldn’t be impossible, and then somehow make it. and thats exactly what they did this time around. dhoni disappointed but the ever reliable ‘wall’ took us home. it wasn’t all that close – the match didn’t go to the last ball – india won with one ball to spare!
the second one, which i again managed to keep awake (play starts at 9:30 local time, which is about 8 pm indian time. so it goes on all through the night till about 4 am the following day. thats how the world cup if going to be) and witness, was just as close, and even more nail biting than the first one. low scoring. dhoni – someone who was anxiously awaited for by the eager crowd – didn’t do much yet again. with a target like 199 posted by the windies, i was half considering going off to bed. the indians had a record stint of having successfully chased scored in 17 consecutive ODIs . seemed like childs play. not until wickets started falling in quick succession. thats when i decided to hang on, and well, was it worth it or what! with 11 runs to win in the last over and yuvraj scoring boundaries of successive balls, everyone thought the indians were home. and then the unexpected – which is what makes an ODI so exciting – happened. yuvraj got bowled clean. last wicket. windies home. the indians’ success stint broken. the crowd jubilant, dancing in frenzy to loud music blaring all over the place.
PS: i’ve never been a cricket fan. don’t care much for the game even now, but when the indian team is playing, i kinda get excited. bah! so much for a game!!