Finally, the feeling of winning the world cup is sinking in. The way the team played cricket in the knock out stages was absolutely fantastic. First Australia, the team which had crushed the hopes of billion people in 2003 when Ricky Ponting just destroyed our bowling, was contained by our bowling and then the way Yuvraj batted was just phenomenal. There were so many moments in that game when I thought this is it. We are out in the quarter final stage. But Yuvraj and Raina had other plans and the grin on Ponting’s face was just worth watching. It was then I felt we are on to something special. The team has the mental strength to win the final.
Next, the battle against Pakistan was when whole of India stopped whatever they were doing and were following the team. Geeta, my wife, asked me what I felt after India had finished batting and I replied instinctively that we will win. There was no way that Pakistan would have won that evening. With the way, the Indian team was charged up there was no way they would have won. It was once again just amazing the way our bowlers went about their jobs in the most professional manner. Once Pakistan, which arguably was the biggest mental challenge, I was feeling much better about our chances in the finals.
On the day of the finals, my wife had decorated the entire house with Indian colors, was dressed in Indian colors and was very excited and nervous about the same. When Sri Lanka started scoring heavily and faster, I felt that we had lost the grip on the match. My fears further increased when we lost Sehwag and Sachin cheaply. But Gambhir and Kohli batted very well. Once Kohli got out to a superb catch by Dilshan, I knew captain cool, MSD, would come and play a Captain’s Innings. I immediately told my family members MSD will play a knock of his lifetime and what a knock it was. I have never seen Dhoni play better. It was probably his best innings under pressure. Initially he started slow, coming down the wicket and nudging for singles, converting ones to twos and then opened up when it was really needed. Never did he once allow pressure to get to him or to the billion people who were watching the game. As long as he was there, we were there. At the other end, Gambhir played an outstanding innings, though I felt he threw his hundred away. In the end it was left to the Man of the Tournament and MSD to finish the game and finish the game he did in fine style.
The joy which I expressed is something which cant be put in words. We, my brother, wife and myself, decided to take our bikes along with the flag of India and join the party which was going on in the streets. It seemed like everyone who had a car or a bike was out there partying. It would have been really difficult for the cops to patrol the streets but they did whatever best they could, however there were just too many people out honking, blaring loud music from their cars, waving the Indian flags, screaming Indiaaa!! India!!. I have never experienced such unbridled joy amongst so many people together. Everywhere the feeling was just the same — of pride. We all felt as if we were world champions and owned a piece of the world cup. Finally after 28 years, we are the World Champs once again. Lets hope we dont have to wait such a long time for the next one.