Chocolate and Gold Coins

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

10YAT: My First ODI

Ten years ago today I saw my first ODI. It was an excellent introduction to the world of cricket.

Actually, I had seen parts of a test match on television in India when my wife and I visited in 1995. It was, in fact, the famous Sri Lanka vs. Australia test match in which Muralitharan was no-balled. But I didn’t understand any of that. I just noticed that they played all day long and only a handful of wickets fell. It seemed a dreadfully dull sport. I couldn’t see the point of watching the same game go on for 5 days – especially if there was a good chance that even after so much time there would be no winner.

We came back to Minnesota and I forgot about cricket. But then the World Cup started –and that year it was being played in India! My wife was sorry that she would miss all the games. She read a little about them.

We went to the Indian store on the evening of the 8th of March. There were two Indian stores in Minneapolis and they were located 50 yards away from each other. This seemed to be actual example of Hotelling’s Theorem. We went to the store closer to our house (by 50 yards).

Inside, they were advertising the India-Pakistan quarterfinal. My wife exclaimed, “Oh, I wish I could have been in India to watch this.” The grocer said that they were selling tickets to watch the match at a local motel. When we left the store, my wife said, “I wish I could have seen that match. India-Pakistan matches are always so exciting.” I asked her, “Do you want to see it?” I expected my ever-practical wife to say that we needed to go home, study, sleep, etc. But she surprised me. For one time in her life she was truly spontaneous. She looked at me and said, “Yes I would.” So I said, “Let’s go back and get those tickets – you will remember this match for all of your life!”

We went straight to the motel as I recall. If we bought any frozen dinners, we just kept them in the car. It was freezing cold in Minneapolis at that time.

The motel was really not-so-nice. The room we had was flooded with toilet water because the toilet had backed up. My wife perched on the bed as if it were an island surrounded by sharks. We shared this with some other people who came to see cricket.

There was an English gentleman there to see the Sri Lanka-England match. He was disappointed, of course. I saw a bit of Sanath Jayasuriya’s innings and was enthralled. This seemed infinitely more exciting than the test match I had seen a few months earlier! Six after Six flew out of the stadium. It was a glorious innings (although a bit brief).

Then the big match started. Tendulkar opened with Sidhu. My wife was excited about seeing this Tendulkar fellow play. He had been with India for many years, but my wife hadn’t been following cricket and would only occasionally hear about it from her father. She heard a lot about Tendulkar.

Tendulkar started cautiously and began building a partnership with Sidhu. Just when it looked like India might start accelerating, Tendulkar fell. But Sidhu kept the pace going. India lost some more wickets. They were scoring at a little less than 5 per over. My wife told me that the last 10 overs were called the “slog overs” because the batsmen were always more aggressive then. At the time, I could not understand why they waited until the last 10 overs to start “slogging”.

Then Ajay Jadeja came in. This was his great cameo. He scored 45 from just 25 balls including 22 off one Waqar Younis over. The Indian supporters began getting really excited. They scored 96 runs off of the last 10 overs.

Then we had to wait. Pakistan had a target of 288 – a tough ask. But first there would be the interval. We got up and walked around. My wife felt sure that Pakistan could not chase down 288 but she was still nervous about it. It was really early in the morning and we hadn’t slept. We got some snacks to eat and something to drink – we were getting hungry.

Then Pakistan started – with a bang! Sohail and Anwar (always Anwar!) were leading the charge. They put on 84 in just 10 overs but after Srinath got Anwar, Pakistan began losing its way. Wicket after wicket fell and the asking rate started to climb. My wife and I joined another room that had a bigger crowd of Indian supporters. They cheered loudly at the fall of each wicket. Then there was a partnership between Salim Malik (the match-fixer) and Javed Miandad (the destroyer of India in years past). When Malik fell, that people could sense victory was near. The run rate simply rose over the Pakistanis’ heads. And a huge collapse saw 4 wickets fall for just 7 runs as panic took over. It was glorious!

India won!

My wife was thrilled. And I was thrilled to share a special moment with my wife. My wife exclaimed, “And best of all – we beat Pakistan!” She doesn’t like Pakistan too much.

I drove home with my wife. We were both exhausted and exhilarated at the same time.

I have been hooked on cricket ever since.

My wife has never seen another game.

12 Comments:

  • I also still remember that match. Ofcourse I was not married at that time but I was watching that match in Mumbai with my sister and brother in law. My BIL( brother in law) had his bladder full when Pakistanin wickets started falling and we didn't let him visit the restroom till the match got over :)

    By Blogger Gana, at 1:47 AM  

  • Hi,
    Awesome,its been ten years! I saw the match in the stadium in bangalore. It was my first ODI live, i mean really live. Loved every minute of it. The noise was deafening through out the match. Also, there was some crowd problems near our stand during first ten overs of Pak innings. Ajay Jadega came towards our side and calmed people. Btw, IIRC, Venkatesh Prasad got the first wicket which slowed Pak's pace.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:20 AM  

  • Hi Gana and Anon
    Gana: Poor fellow! That would really discourage beer consuption.

    Anon: Thanks for relating your experience. Prasad did indeed bowl very well in that match and got three crucial wickets: Sohail, Inzamum and Ijaz Ahmed. But the scorecard (link above) indicates that Srinath got the first wicket - Saeed Anwar.

    Pakistan was really cruising in the first 10 overs. If they could have kept the momentum going a little longer, they might have won.

    By Blogger Michael Higgins, at 7:39 AM  

  • Michael: Was it a coincidence that you posted this exactly 10 years after the game? :)

    By Blogger anantha, at 9:39 AM  

  • Micheal

    Great post, brought back many good memories. One of the most exhilarating moments was ofcourse when Venkatesh Prasad got walloped for a boundary by Aamir Sohail, followed by Aamir Sohail gesturing toward the boundary and suggesting to Prasad that there's more to come in that direction. I think every Indian supporter was ecstatic when Sohail got bowled by Prasad in the next delivery.

    Sigh .. yup .. that was the momemt !

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:31 AM  

  • Brings back some great memories. I watched this game at the 'common-room' of my undergrad dorm - those used to be a special experience: approximately 300 screaming fans and one small 21' TV. That match had several memorable moments - Sidhu literarily trying to hit a Pakistani player after he was being sledged, Jadeja dispatching one of the most fearsome pacers of that time into the stands, Aamer Sohail pointing out the boundary to Prasad and then being bowled in the very next ball.

    In the midst of all the mayhem that ensured after the fall of every Pakistani wicket, we had to make sure we went back to assuming the exact sitting position as play resumed. All silly superstition of course, and meant that I had to watch most the game uncomforatably perched on the rickety handle of an old chair. But it was all worth it if Pakistani wickets would continue to fall !!

    By Anonymous BongoPondit, at 2:21 PM  

  • Hi Anti, Anon2, and BongoP
    Anti: I intended to post it on the anniversary. I tend to post things that happened on a particular date on the anniversary.

    Anon2: That is an interesting piece of information about Sohail pointing to the boundary and getting bowled the next ball. Perhaps he was a little over-confident?

    BongoP: The thing about everyone staying in their seat and not moving - that seems to be common in India. Well, anyway, the superstition worked that time.

    By Blogger Michael Higgins, at 2:56 PM  

  • Hi Michael,

    First time on your blog, but have seen you comment on many of my favourite blogs. :)

    I remember this match exactly as you have desribed it here. My husband and I bought tickets to see it in a run-down Indian restaurant in Cincinnati. The location was crummy but the experience was magical!

    By Anonymous anjali, at 2:20 AM  

  • Awesome...however do you remember the scary cameo by Rashid Latif at the end where I personally feared for another twist at the end.. the abiding memory of that match will be Jadeja's dream finish, Prasad putting Amir Sohail in place and the rather shameful booing of Javed Miandad, one of the greatest (and the worst to watch) batsment I have seen.

    By Blogger GREATBONG, at 11:05 AM  

  • Michael,
    posting a comment for the first time. A good post; More remarkable is the fact that despite you hailing from a non cricketing nation (poor guys, they are missing sooooo much) and this being your very first ODI (do you still find test cricket dull? Given the slam bang wallop that is One Day cricket, it is One day cricket that has become boring; Even traditional, slow, attritional test cricket (couretsy Poms in India) is attractive)and it being 10yrs. ago, you happen to remember the match quite vividly. BTW, here is the google video link to that Prasad, Sohail duel that people have been alluding to:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6195330196162848951&q=cricket

    By Anonymous Masked Masquerader, at 10:26 PM  

  • Man, what a match that was. I was studying in Bangkok then and a very close friend was getting married that same day!!! Watched the Indian innnings with some friends and at one of his houses. His parents were there so we were kinda well behaved (no cussing etc..) but by the time Jadeja got into high gear the gloves were off, so to speak. Jumping up and down like a monkey, shouting at the top of our voices, and if i recall some cussing too. My friend's parents thought that I was a decent/polite kinda guy and all......but that one over changed their whole impression off me. By now it was time to go to the hotel for the wedding so took a quick shower (all the friends got ready at his place) and fought a battle with Bangkok traffic to reach the hotel. Said a quick hello to the bride, our dear friend, and made a beeline to the room the bride's family had booked for the couple. We were the only ones in the beginning and slowly word got out to the wedding party that a room with cable TV showing the match was available. People started trickling in and soon there was standing room only. As the match progressed we got louder and louder and the management stopped sushing us after 3-4 tries (you can't control a mob!!). Pak's wickets were falling but Miandad was still around and even at that time India was famous for snatching defeat form the jaws of vicotry!!! After Miandad got out there was delirium and I was sure the management would now call in the cops. To this date I have not heard so many expletives uttered at one time in so many different languages!!! When we finally won the match people were dancing on the bed and the hallway!!!! I of course had lost my voice by the end of the day.

    Oh by the way, when we finally went to the ballroom the pheras were already completed!!! Since we had lost our voices we could not even congratulate our friend. But I think she understood (and secretly cursed for choosing march 8 as her wedding day!!)

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