Monday, 4 April 2011
After the triumph against Australia in the Quarter-Final and against Pakistan in the Semi-Final everyone was eagerly looking forward to the FINAL. Somehow I was feeling very disappointed with the way our team played in both the matches. The bowling was lacking the bite and the fielding was at best mediocre. We could win thanks to our long tail and the mistakes of the opposition. MicroSoft (just an Adjective!) Dhoni was looking clueless while wielding his willow and was far from the MSD we knew. Fortunately the great thing that I admire in MSD is his total awareness of everything that is going on around him, including his pathetic personal batting performance and his ability to address the weaknesses with total confidence besides the uncanny skill of changing the bowlers and field placements.
When the indomitable Zaheer Khan lost a bit of his bite when he conceded those extra runs in the dying moments of Sri Lankan innings and the total stood at 274 everyone must have really felt butterflies in the stomach. No team has ever chased a total as high as 274 and won in any world cup final before. I am not sure if MSD was also nursing a fear because even if he did he was not showing it. His expression was a "dead pan" as ever.
More was to come when we started our innings. When the illustrious Shewag perished in the first over for a duck and the Legend followed him with just 18 runs our hearts fell and one could almost hear the Heart Beats of the Indian supporters at wankhede stadium. Any other Captain would have felt safe to send an "in-form" batsman and pray GOD that he delivers! Not our MSD. He forgets the poor form displayed by him, the run of low scores in the previous innings etc and decides to hold the match by the scruff and pull it away from the SriLankans inch by inch with sheer determination, controlled aggression and an ice cold mind while egging on Gauti,Virat and Yuvi to perform. It was an excellent example of "Leading from the Front" and it silenced all the critics who were breying for his blood if India were to lose. He was concentration personified! Never indulged in any indiscrete stroke. He hit his first six of the innings when India was almost there and then again to finish the Job! He is by far the BEST CAPTAIN that India could ever ask for. It will not be wrong to say that he conducted the entire journey, from the league stages to knockout level, with such exemplary manouvres that it looked easier than it really was. Yes, he is Made of Steel, Dhoni.