Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lagaan - A Match Report

The match started on a bright sunny morning and a clear blue sky, without a hint of rain or clouds, in the middle of monsoons, which was actually the reason for the match to be staged in the 1st place. The atmosphere was delightful with the entire province turning up for the match to cheer the home team. Their uniformly white attire which matched the visitors' colors, may have sent a wrong message about their loyalties towards the visitors. The different stands of service provided by the ground staff was appalling as the general public was not allowed placards, food items or even water bottles, while the visitors' guests could comfortably smoke a cigar in the pavilion. So much for atithi devo bhava.

apt. Russell of England won the toss and adhering to conventional wisdom, elected to bat first. The Indian captain, taking a leaf out of the IPL, opted to open with a spinner, in a Test Match. No prizes for guessing who was sent on a leather chase. Later in the day, the home team unleashed an unconventional bowler who rotated his arm 10 times before bowling. Doubt if his shoulder can withstand the wear and tear for more than 2 years in the international circuit. In spite of the dedication displayed by the home team, England took the honours for the day.

Late at night, the Indian team were spotted visiting the temple with their supporters seeking a divine intervention which came a while later. It was reported that one of the team members, who was in love with the Indian captain's arm-candy was accused of conspiring with the opposition captain and fixing the match result. While links with bookies are being investigated, he was allowed to continue in the match as the hearing was pending with ICC.

Day 2 belonged to India as they cleaned up the tail easily as Kachra found some help from the track and managed a hat-trick, eliciting fears of the track cracking on the final day. This was, however a false alarm as the track behaved true and accommodated, supported and even cheered cross-batted shots from the whole Indian batting line-up. Shots, which wouldn't last an over outside the subcontinent and their inadequate technique was exploited by the mean English pacer with a Merv Hughes beard when he hit Lakha on the head with a vicious bouncer.

lthough India scored at a healthy rate, the fall of wickets at regular intervals meant the English were always ahead. It took an injured Ismail, a no-ball in the final delivery and a last ball DLF Maximum to see India home. In a typical IPL fashion, the captain received a Zintaesque hug from the main cheerleader as supporters cheered around him and the rain gods finally let go after holding their bladder for 3 days.

This was a match that will be remembered through ages for various reasons; the underdogs beat the favorites on their debut, India held their nerve in crunch situations, the last-ball finish, and above all, for the big prize money worth 3 years of Lagaan.

Post Match, speculations were rife regarding the nationality of the visitors. While their on-field sledging suggested Aussie roots, their failure to contain Bhuvan and remove Kachra in the last over left no doubt over their SA origin, although they kept swearing their loyalty to the Queen. Turns out that ECB hiring Saffers is a century old concept after all.

A special mention should be made of the sole commentator who stuck to his job of announcing the score without sounding foolish, a welcome relief after the crass Danny Morrison we witnessed during the IPL.


Abhishek said...

Very creative, very funny. And the references to the real cricketing world are worth applause; in fact, the whole article is worth applause.

Cricket-without- Balls said...

Glad you liked it and commented...

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