On Tuesday evening a day before the semi-final clash, I was sitting in my grand parents’ place, worrying about the India-Pakistan match. Will Sachin get his 100th 100? Will our Kieron Pollard, Yusuf Pathan play? And what will be the bowling line-up? All these questions kept popping in my mind.
Suddenly my dad called & asked if I wanted to go for the match!!! I asked how will we go & he answered by road! The slumbered Ghumakkar in him was rising again☺. Actually Honey, my Mausi had organised the tickets & called him. I tried to act calm & said I would get back to him on that. I whipped out the laptop, logged on facebook & updated my status to “is going for the match in Mohali☺. I then texted to almost half of my contact list telling them the news. Then I called my dad back saying “yes”.
In about an hour or so my dad came to pick me up from my grand-parent’s home. We then raced to the Nike store to buy the Team India jerseys. They only had the XL size so I had to compromise for the India team training kit shirt.
When we finally reached home, my dad & I started packing for the next day’s little trip. We took a whole strolley full of stuff for a trip that was not supposed to last even 24 hours☺. The stuff even included an extra pair of shoes!!!
We had booked a cab for 4 in the morning & then finally dozed off. Tomorrow was going to be a tiring day☺.
I woke up at 3 in the morning & did a final check of the things that were to go with us. Had a light breakfast & waited for the cab to come. The driver had some trouble finding the house, at one point he thought he was standing next door, when he was God knows where :P. When he finally reached it was 430 & still pitch-dark. We hurriedly loaded all our stuff inside the cab; we even took 4 books and 1 magazine to read on our way, which came back unread.
Mohali is about 250 odd kilometres from Delhi. Sonipat, Panipat, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Ambala are the cities that are on the way. It takes about 4-5 hours to get there.
We were finally off on our way to Mohali!!! I remembered that some of my friends were also to go to Mohali for the match, so I kind of hoped to meet them there, and see the expression upon seeing me there =O. Our driver was literally racing at speeds of 90-100 km/ph on the practically empty streets (which is understandable at 5:00 in the morning :P). At one point he drove over a speed breaker at quite a high speed (quite much de-fusing its purpose) and all three of us went at least a feet in the air before the roof stopped us from going any higher :P. After that experience dad told him to go a little slower, but I don’t think that took much effect, because we reached Mohali a good hour and a half before we were supposed too. I slept for most of the way after the incident :P.
On the way we had also stopped at a dhaba to grab a little something to eat. Now because of my braces I could not eat the fat, stuffed, crunchy & butter dripping paranthas so I had make do with the bread butter sandwiches that we had packed from home. I slept most of the way after the dhaba break but woke up just as we were reaching Chandigarh. One could faintly see the foothills from the road. We had reached way before schedule & so we decided to go to the house of one of my mom’s colleague in Panchkula, one of the twin cities of Chandigarh the other being Mohali, our destination for the day. On the way I noticed that most of the roads were straight in Chandigarh. It really was a well planned city☺.
We reached my mom’s colleague’s house by about 1015am. His wife, Sangeeta, his mother & nephew, Aditya, were home. They were very warm people. We freshned-up, wore our India T-shirts to show our support & chatted with them for a while. After that we came to know that Aditya was also going for the match & his entry gate was same as ours, gate no 4, so we decided it would be a good idea to go together. We left by 11am & thought we were leaving very early, but we weren’t taking any chances☺.
There was total chaos on the roads, but I was still amazed to see how straight all the roads were. It took us about 40 minutes to reach the stadium, which was just 10 minutes away from where we were. There was no order on the roads, even though there were lot of policemen everywhere. At that time, I started cribbing about the chaos & confusion, but boy-oh-boy that was just the beginning!
When we finally managed to get in the area of the stadium, we were told to park our car in a huge area with a little grass & lots of poop. I almost stepped on some but somehow managed to evade it.
There was a long line just to enter the lines of your particular gate. There was also a tv crew filming the crowd & taking interviews of the people.
It took us about 20 minutes in that queue. I could see about 6 lines after that, in each one that we asked, people said it is for gate no 4. I, at first was surprised at the fact that how well the entrances to the stadium gates have been designed, 6 entrances to one gate? Applaud able. But as we proceeded, very slowly, towards the gate, I found out that was not the case. There were just two entrances to our gate, the rest of the lines have been formed by people trying to cut into the lines. Thankfully for us, we were in a genuine line, but in the end it didn’t make much of a difference as everyone just pushed & shoved to get into the stadium, the other entrance next to us was still a little calmer, but till the time I realised that, it was too late. I was right in the midst of all the pushing & pulling. The guy behind in me was actually using his hands to wrestle his way into the stadium. Dad had been pushed inside already, & I was slowly getting pushed to the outer parts of the line. Then two nice guys in the calmer line saw me getting shoved & telling the rowdy bunch to stop pushing & pulling, obviously to no use. They invited me to the calmer line; I was quite relieved to join that line, as there was absolutely no shoving or pushing in that queue. I walked into the stadium like a civilised human being.
My dad was waiting for me at the end of the line. We then bought water & proceeded to our seats. The three of us sat together & we reached just in time for the toss. So it turns out we didn’t leave that early at all.
Anyways, Dhoni won the toss & the crowd erupted, as if we had beaten Pakistan already. Dhoni chose to bat first, & the crowd cheered even louder. At one point I actually thought what was wrong with them? After that we took some pictures of ourselves & I even took some pictures of ourselves with the people sitting in front of us, who had painted their faces saffron, white & green and were wearing the Indian flag like a cape.
Within minutes we found out that we were surrounded by cricket critics, but only one of them, the gentleman sitting right next to me actually knew anything about cricket. He kept giving us his inputs throughout the match, & we kept asking him the stuff that we didn’t know, & so it was nice to have him around.
The umpires came out at about 2:10 and the players followed. The anthems started, and I was a bit surprised to see that no one even stood up for the Pakistani anthem, which was a tad disrespectful. But sure as hell everyone got up for the Indian national anthem. The people sitting right behind us were shouting the anthem at the top of their voices, to get noticed, heard or whatever :P.
Finally, the moment that almost all of India was waiting for was going to transpire, the first ball of the Semi-final 2 of the ICC World Cup, between India and Pakistan was going to be bowled. Viru was on strike, and so everyone cleared their throats, expecting a 4 off the first ball of the match as usual, but Viru completely missed the ball, and utter disappointment followed, though it didn’t last long as Viru smacked the fourth ball of the over for 4☺. After that, there was no looking back, and for me, the moment of the world cup came in Umar Gul’s over, when Viru decimated him with 5 fours off the over =D. At that point the people behind me were estimating India’s score to be around 350, and the way we were going, it looked quite possible.
India were going at quite a steady rate, until Wahab Riaz bowled a more or less straight delivery to Viru’s pads and the umpire gave it out. Viru called for a review within seconds, and due to the instantaneous appeal, the crowd thought that there must have been an inside edge. I almost heaved a sigh of relief, but the replays clearly showed that there was no contact whatsoever with the bat, and he was right in front of the wicket, and that taking the review was a stupendous and hasty decision by all means, and also that he had to walk back☹. Though he did satisfy his role of giving the team a rocketing start, so you can’t complain. After that it quite much went downhill, Kohli came into bat, and he was lazily taking about 1 run of every 3 balls, and Sachin wasn’t doing so great either, as he had 2 consecutive balls referred and a few dropped catches.
After a few overs Kohli got out and Yuvi came in to bat. He was welcomed to his home-ground with a huge roar from the crowd, but all of us fell silent when he tried to play a full toss kind of delivery to the onside, but got a golden duck in the process :P. Dhoni came to bat next and he kind of ‘steadied’ the innings a bit, till Sachin’s wicket finally fell to a catch by Shaid Afridi, Shahid’s team-mates would have been disappointed, because looking at the way they were dropping catches an all, they seemed hell-bent on letting Sachin get his 100th ton. Finally, after not a very fast paced innings of 85 off a hundred something balls, and after being given 6 lifelines( 4 dropped catches,1 stumping chance and a referral) Sachin was finally caught at the 7th.
The crowd fell silent as Sachin walked back, a wave of silence swept across the crowd. But according to some people in the stadium, it was a good omen for India that Sachin couldn’t get his century, and I quote, “Almost whenever he manages a century, we lose”.
Anyway, Raina came into bat, and he turned out to be the most valuable batsman after Viru, he partnered with Zaheer and Bhajji during the end of the innings to post a decent total of 260. Though people were saying we were about 20 odd runs short.
In the innings break there were some catching competitions happening; also the crowd had been trying to start a Mexican Wave since the start of the match, but they could only manage ripples, but now they actually managed to start it and I ticked one thing off my to-do list for life: ‘Participate in a Mexican Wave’
In the Pakistani innings the batsmen had us terrified for the first 10 overs, and the chances of winning looked bleak, but after a few wickets in quick succession and we were back in the game!!!!! Each one of our bowlers took 2 wickets each. We were in cruise mode =D. But the people behind us were still sceptical, even when they needed 30 runs off 5 balls :P.
Dad had been telling me since the 3rd wicket went down that India would win, and I guess he was right =D.
The players celebrated on the pitch with most taking one of wickets as memorabilia, but one of our very own players targeted the wicket with the camera(the middle stump) but the ESPN crew ran onto the pitch and took the wicket away, before any damage could be done :P. You see, now that’s the kind of stuff you don’t see on TV :P.
We didn’t stay for the post match presentation and left early to avoid the crowd, but we weren’t quite successful at that because it seemed a lot of others in the stadium had the same bright idea, and so the exits were totally choked.
Anyway, after about half an hour of that struggle we finally managed to get to the parking but evading the poop in the dark was even harder and I just prayed with each step.
We headed back to Aditya’s house, and on the way we saw so many people sitting on the bonnets of their cars, celebrating India’s win(with a big fat hospital bill perhaps).
We reached in about an hour, and khichdi had specially been made for me and my braces :P. It did taste quite good with all the ghee poured over it☺.
Post dinner we changed our clothes and after a super tiring day, went to sleep.
We got up at 3:00 in the morning second time in a row and headed back to Delhi. I again slept most of the way and we stopped by at a nice restaurant for breakfast.
We reached back home just in time for a re-run of Dexter, about 12 noon. After that we actually watched the highlights of the match, just to make sure we hadn’t missed anything, and luckily for us, we hadn’t :P.
All in all it was a nice trip, totally worth all the hours of travelling and standing in the sun. And we should totally do this ghumakkar-pana more often :-D.