India took on the Kiwis in the third ODI at Christchurch on Sunday (8-03-09) in the five match National Bank ODI series. The second ODI was washed out due to incessant rain. India were already one up in the series and the make up of the third ODI was all the more luring with the Little Genius Sachin showing glimpses of his batting geniuses in the second ODI. I got back home on Saturday (7th of March) and was dying to watch the match the following day.
Friday, the 7th of March, at around 19:15 Hrs, I met a couple of my school friends at our very own RK paani puri stall. As always our conversation touched all spheres of possible imagination and at last settled down to Sunday’s plans. Decision making was never a tough task for us if it was on hangouts. We decided to go for a movie (sorry, they decided and as usual I just nodded my head pretending to be okay with the decision). I would never sacrifice a chance to watch a match for some dumb movie. My friends did their best to persuade me for the movie and even went on to state that the Sunday’s match would definitely be a rain washout. I tell you, that did not please me one bit.
Beep, beepp, beeppp….. Like a visually impaired individual, I stretched my hand across the table to shut the cellbore (My MutePhone). I woke up hastily and switched on the T.V set, only to find out that I was a touch late to miss the toss. A sigh of relief to watch the stadium bathed in bright sunlight contrary to what was predicted by my friend. Shewag and Sachin strolled in. I dislodged my blanket, adjusted the pillow and comforted myself to watch, what promised to be a splendid game of cricket.
Initially, Sachin was very cautious and selective in his shot making and at the other end; shewag had no method to his madness and soon perished playing a tail ender’s slog shot. His Delhi teammate Gautam Gambhir walked in as the number 3 batsman for India and he too looked off color and was very tentative in his shot selection. He got out trying to run down a delivery to the third man area. He got out in the same fashion for the second time in this tour.
Yuvraj started off his innings with a splendid cover drive and looked good right from the start of the innings. Sachin and Yuvaraj resurrected India from the initial jitters and gradually stepped on the gas and started playing some beautiful cricket shots all around the park. Sachin carried his momentum from his last game and outclassed and dictated terms to the Kiwis. Just as everything looked bright for India, everything turned dark at home. Power cut!!!! Imagine my plight! Once in a while I get to watch a cricket match and when I do get a chance to watch sachin in full flow, these things happen. By the time my T.V got back to life, the Kiwis hopes had already died. Sachin had butchered their bowlers all around the park and with cameos from Yuvaraj, Dhoni and Raina, India piled up a huge total of 393 on the board.
As expected, the black caps came out all guns blazing and Jesse Ryder proved too hot to handle. The Ryder bazooka fired time and again and with Mccullum playing the way he normally does, the duo batted India out of the game. The Indian captain led from the front but, this time for a lost cause and dropped an absolute sitter behind the stumps off the bat of the marauding Ryder, then followed a flurry of drop catches, high school bowling and sloppy fielding. The ball sailed past the ropes time and again and the opening partnership was soaring at a pace of 8 runs an over. It looked as if the Indians gave up hope and their body language on the field was evident of this fact. They were waiting for the Kiwis to make a mistake and fortunately for the Indians, Ryder obliged to their unsung request and committed a fatal mistake by chancing Raina’s arm only to leave his helpless partner in absolute despair. That very run out cost New Zealand the match and that triggered a string of wickets to fall and all of a sudden the black caps were down in the doldrums.
Even after losing 8 wickets, the Kiwis never gave up. The spectators got their moneys worth and were treated to some delightful stroke play even at the fag end of the match. The new ball partners Southie and Mills used the long handle to good effect and sent the spectators in the crowd for cover. Munaf Patel, the weak link in the Indian pace attack experienced the drubbing of the summer from the Kiwi tail Enders. The best part was that, even after such humiliation he managed to project a smile, Kudos to the selection committee. Much to the relief of the Indian fans, he was removed from the attack for sending down two consecutive beamers in the same over. India finally managed to get their noses in front across the finish line.
The only consolation of the match was that of Sachin’s delightful innings. An absolute treat to watch. SACHIN, 43 AND COUNTING…………