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Wednesday, May 8, 2013
'Please don't leave cricket, Sachin. KKR didn't really show up, but Tendulkar did. What's to complain
This is my 4th article for ESPN Cricinfo. It's IPL T20 Tournament Game Review between Mumbai Indians vs Kolkatta Knight Riders played at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on 7th May, 2013 and published on website on 8th May
Choice of game
Kolkata Knight Riders' is among the most inspirational stories in the IPL.
Given their history, nobody would have expected them to do well in 2012, but
they scripted a magnificent turn-around to win the title. I badly wanted to see
a champion team in action, so I booked my tickets for this game.
I was backing KKR to win, since that would have kept them in contention and
kept the tournament interesting.
Sachin Tendulkar 48 runs off 28 deliveries that included eight boundary hits.
His batting might shows no signs of waning even at the age of 40. His opening
stand with Dwayne Smith for 93 runs formed the base for Mumbai to pile on a
One thing I'd have
changed about the match
Sachin Tendulkar was batting beautifully on 48 and the crowd was expecting him
to get to his half-century when Rajat Bhatia was bowling. The chants of
"Sachin, Sachin" could be heard around the Wankhede, but he was
bowled by Bhatia. I would have liked to see him score more. That would have
been memorable and would have given us something to remember for ages.
Face-off I relished
I was eagerly looking forward to Sunil Narine v Sachin Tendulkar since Narine
had dismissed Tendulkar the last time these two teams played. I was also interested
in Narine v Dwayne Smith, who has been the answer to Mumbai's opening woes. Of course, this
face-off did not pan out as Sunil Narine was preserved for the final overs. L
Balaji bowled an economical spell to the two Mumbai opening batsmen but he did
not get support from the opposite end.
The smart catch by Eoin Morgan at deep midwicket to dismiss Rohit Sharma made
me go 'Wow'. Morgan caught the ball near the boundary, but realised that the
momentum would make him over-balance. So he immediately threw the ball high up
in the air before stepping over, then regained his balance and completed the
Kieron Pollard and Lasith Malinga fielded near the boundary for a while.
Whenever Pollard and Malinga walked near the edge, there were huge cheers from
the crowd welcoming them. Both were kind enough to wave back to the crowd.
There was also a banner put up by a fan urging Pollard to display some
Caribbean style dance moves.
Shot(s) of the day
The stand-out shots were Tendulkar's five boundaries off McLaren in the fourth
over of the game, which brought the crowd alive. Another outstanding stroke was
Mitchell Johnson's six off the last ball of the Mumbai innings. The crowd was
chanting - "We want six, we want six" - and Johnson obliged by
thrashing the ball over the long-off boundary.
Though the stadium was packed, I felt the buzz was lacking. Mumbai's players
had the loudest cheers reserved for them by the crowd.
Fancy dress index
In the North Stand, I could spot a group of spectators wearing the Mumbai
jersey, along with Anna Hazare type Gandhian caps on. There were an entire
range of Malinga wigs in different colors like blue and yellow. All of this
made the game look like a carnival and not just another T20 game.
The music started as early as 6.30 pm, and got the crowd excited and ready for
the game. The cheerleaders from both the teams duly joined in by entertaining
the crowd with their acrobatic moves. The DJ took responsibility to start the
Mexican wave from the fourth over of the match. The music continued till 10 in
the night. There was thunderous applause from the crowd during the presentation
ceremony when Tendulkar was announced as Man of the Match.
Banner of the day
"Take 20 years of my Life, but please don't leave cricket. Love you
Sachin" - this was on a banner in our stand.
Full marks to the organisers for living up to the crowd's expectations. The
quality of cricket dished out by both the teams was good too, though I'd have
preferred to see a better fight from KKR.
Marks out of 10
I'd give this game 7 points. This is probably the last time I'll see Tendulkar
play at the Wankhede Stadium. It is not clear if he may play the IPL tournament
next year. So I will savour this moment and tell stories of it for ages to
come. This game's tickets were planned and booked online well in advance. So
everything worked out just fine. Please find below the link to the article on ESPN Cricinfo Website - http://www.espncricinfo.com/thestands/content/story/634635.html