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Posted at: Jul 12, 2019, 6:44 AM; last updated: Jul 12, 2019, 6:44 AM (IST)

Beaten, black and blue

Beaten, black and blue

Rajiv Bakshi

I never played cricket even in my school or college days. However, I have been following the World Cup at the insistence of my cousin, who travelled to the UK to watch the game, especially the encounter between archrivals India and Pakistan. I watched the match on TV in Ludhiana, hoping to see my cousin in the stands. India won the match and my interest in the game began to grow. 

The Men in Blue booked a berth for the semifinal clash with New Zealand’s Men in Black. The odds seemed to be stacked in India’s favour. I was already booked to travel to Chicago on July 9, the day of the match. But my now feverish interest in the game, spurred by the zeal of a billion fans, forced me to change my plan so that I could reach the Windy City before the match began. I needed to watch the game.

I had to pay a considerable sum to cancel and rebook my plane ticket but did not mind spending the money as long as I could watch the match live, albeit on TV. I even took along half a dozen India Blue jerseys so that my family, including my three-year-old granddaughter, could watch the match wearing it. On D-day I posted the Family-in-Blue photo on Facebook!

The glorious uncertainty of the game was in full evidence. Rain got the match deferred to the next day. No one slept that night because the match was to resume at 4:30 am Chicago time. The target set was not high and looked easily achievable for the Men in Blue, who had been in tremendous form. But wickets fell like the proverbial ninepins, the first three for only five runs and soon it was 92 runs for the loss of six wickets. What a fall, my countrymen, I exclaimed a la Caesar and posted my Facebook status: Men in Black troubling Men in Blue! Dozens of comments followed, castigating me for my pessimism.

A valiant rearguard action by Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravinder Jadeja took the fight to the opposition’s camp, bringing solace to the crestfallen Indian fans. The Men in Blue tried valiantly, but the Men in Black won. India lost but the game of cricket itself had emerged victorious with a scintillating display of its see-saw skills. My new status on Facebook posted after the match: Will stop watching cricket for the next four years!

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