Pic.: Vinod Vazirani
As I have told many times before, the TV at our home is long disconnected. So, when there is an important match which I love to watch, either I sit with my cricket-crazy friend, Tapas, my neighbor… or, I watch it on my laptop. I watched the India-Pakistan match at Tapas’ place, while last night’s India-Bangladesh match on my laptop via Hotstar live.
Bangladesh lost last night. But, except for those last two overs we bowled to them, the last one in particular, Bangladesh outplayed us in every department. They really deserved to win yesterday’s match, because, they really played well…
But then, I am able to say this now, at hindsight. While watching the match, last night, I was so involved with our side, that I couldn’t gather enough grace to watch the match any further when the second ball of that last over from Pandya was sent to the fence by Mushfiqur… Now, six runs were required from four balls…
I shut off my computer… I couldn’t bear the sight of we losing, of all the teams, to Bangladesh!
The very next ball was scooped to the fence by Mushfiqur, which, I was blissfully unaware of. Outside, there was a ghostly silence… I was sure, our ship had already sunk!
And, lo, suddenly, there was a wild cry outside… I logged in, once again…
It was the fourth ball of that last over from Pandya and Dhawan had taken a brilliant catch… Mushfiqur was gone!
The match had assumed a frenzied twist… Now, two runs from two balls were needed…
The stadium, which had gone into an icy silence, was, now, on fire!
The fifth ball and Mahmudullah was gone!
This was unbelievable! As much as my heart rejoiced for India, it also bled for Bangladesh… “Those boys had played so well,” I kept empathizing, “how they must be feeling!”
My heart had stopped when Pandya sent his last delivery… The brilliance of Dhoni’s keeping and captaincy is still not sunk in my mind fully… The win still looks like a dream!
Between the second ball and the last ball, the worlds of two nations had passed through the entire gambit of emotions… It is truly a breath-taking moment… It contained so much for all of us!
“There are many a slip between the cup and the lip,” I kept bleeding for Bangladesh. You can never say ‘I have won’ till the last ball is delivered… I have gone through such moments so often and been left humbled!
From our own perspective, I kept recalling one of my favorite stories – ‘Three feet from Gold’ – told in Napoleon Hill’s ‘Think and Grow Rich’. R.U. Darby recalled in this story the priceless lesson he had learnt in his life… During the days of ‘Gold Rush’ in America, Darby’s uncle had invested a massive sum of money and gone into the business of mining gold. But, months and months of digging had taken him nowhere… The hopes had died out and money seemed to have sunken… Finally, Darby’s uncle had decided to give up… So, he sold the entire machinery and equipment to a junkman for a junk-price and he had gone back to his village…
Now, the junkman was a calm and clever negotiator like Dhoni… He consulted an expert, who advised the junkman to dig just three feet away from where Darby’s uncle had stopped. The junkman did… and took millions and millions home!
I was in my early twenties – yet to get a foothold in this vast city – yes, I was so young and fresh when I first learnt that priceless lesson on persistence, hope and grit!
“Still, how many times I have stopped just three feet from gold!” Yes, this was the take away, to me, from that last over!
Last night was this one-of-a-kind match… Today, till late noon, people soaked in Holi colours… and, in a while, this evening, we Christians will observe the Maundy Thursday in the church… Jesus had washed His disciples’ feet as a mark of humility… After that, He had taken the last meal with them…
It is called ‘The Last Supper’!