Saturday, March 27, 2010

One day ,Two matches ,Third trimester....



I am watching the match between Kolkata Night Riders and Mumbai Indians.
But it seems the match is between only 1 team and 1 player.Sachin is at his roaring best today.He has already carved the KKR bowlers for 8-9 fours and he is looking good for many more.I am now curious to know what is the horizon for this sun of indian cricket who has been prophesized very incorrectly by hiscritics as a setting one.
                 Move over cricket and IPL.Another sport that used to capture the attention of the millions of indians had an extravaganza of sorts in delhi,two weeks ago.Hockey World Cup was a success ,not for the indian team but for india as a organiser.I was fortunate enough to be able to watch two matches,infact the very last two of the tournament.I was very much awed by the play in both the matches.If only i can say that about the indian team performance.The ghost of underperforming indian team(read hockey not cricket) lingers on.                  
I got up late on saturday and just came from lunch and was planning to sleep a few hours before starting preparing for other exam on monday.But one of my friends asked me if i wanted to come to the Finale of the world cup.I never had an oppurtunity to watch any hockey match (leave aside hockey ,no match at all ) in stadium live.So my sports bud got excited and started excreting adrenaline.In few minutes time 5 of us were catching and auto towards the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium.Braving the hostile weather,we finally reached the venue.

                      There the most important thing is what we didnt think of! tickets!!

How we managed them deserves a seperate tale in itself,best captured in the word "JUGAAD".So finally we entered the stadium,a different experince altogether.We were in our bid to collect 5 tickets ,got late and we entered the stadium on the stroke of half time of the firs match.The match which later on became a humdinger,showed its future promise to this newest batch of 5 people about to become its witnesses.The match was a third place playoff between england and holland.
                   Amidst the gentry and the bourgeoisie ,the concourse was largely composed of children and youngsters.They were given every reason to wave their flags and power their trumpets by the play both the teams displayed.The level of play was simply awesome.When we were seated on top tier after much deliberation about where to sit ,England was leading 2 goals to 1.
                                              In the next few minutes the scoreline read 3 goals to 1 to england.
                                  At the half time the score prevailed.But the mood was changing.All was not hunky dory for the englishmen as the dutch in the dying minutes of the half have begun to display some of their legerdemains.I have seen the movie Chak De and the scenes of the stadium was remniscient of the movie at large.At the stroke of half time came the sparkling jets of water from both sides.The stadium looked spectacular.The crowd was drapped in the colors of orange as the dutch team was the favourite.I remember the drubbing they gave india in one of the matches in champions trophy years ago.Its actually surprising they havent won world cup in recent times.
                                          The match was set up for an exciting finish.But not much excitement was happening at our end.It seemed that a jinx was in operation as all the goals, 4 of them in total,were fired in the opposite side (except for the lone Dutch goal which we missed).So we were not too happy with the proceedings ,but hopeprevailed that in the second half with the sides switching sides ,we wil get our share of action. But as luck would have it ,it was time for a dutch riposte.They fired four goals in the second half to snatch the tan colored medals from the cerulean colored english team.
                                         The match very efficiently served as an appetizer.The final salvo was next.The Germans who were the undefeatd team of the tournament pitted against the aussies who were the favourites for the title.
In the next seventy minutes the aussies showed class,strenght,stamina,passion whereas germans showed doggedness,stagnancy and moribund will.It was evident from the enthusiastic practice session that aussies had that who wanted this more badly.After seventy minutes and a game full of high running emotions it was the german goalkeeper jesulat who was in tears.

Aussies had captured another world cup.Whoof!dont they get tired of winning world events.The sweet clunk of the hockey stick hitting the ball ,the ever so interesting penalty corners ,the fast and accurate passes ,the players throwing themselves to get the ball ,thats the essence of hockey that enveloped my senses that day.So much so that i clamoured for more,i wanted a penalty shootout.
But as it happened ,the deserving won.
                     But the disappointing and yawning gap hockey has with cricket was glaring enough to see.In the most inconsequential T20 match fireworks galored in the IPL,whereas no such frolics happened when the final of the 2010 hockey world cup ended.But still the experience was to savour and all in all the tournament was a success.The crowds were excited(they blocked my vision everytime ball crossed in our side and annoyed me to the hilt),the weather good ,and the company of friends invigorating.


And finally the icing on the cake :We finally got to see a goal on our side of
the ground.And it was the World cup winning one .Thats HOCKEY!!!

Random Musings...