Dear Team India,
There is a circus going around you for the last 5 days since you fixed your date with our neighbour in the WC semi-final. Win this match and you have won the cup is what your fans are telling you. Now do me a favor, forget the last 5 days, forget that it is the match that matters, forget the pressure. As you head back to your rooms for a sound sleep, which I’m rest assured most of you will not get – just try to forget the ruckus around you and rewind your memory tape to the moments – moments that mattered.
Srinath in his first World Cup getting Miandad to drag the ball onto his leg-stump after he had teased More; ensuring India would win the one that mattered; the first time both rivals met in the WC in 1992.
Hrishikesh Kanitkar’s 4 of the second last ball of the 48th over in that pitch-dark Dhaka Stadium to win the 1998 Independence Cup chasing 314. For the first time a 300+ score was chased in a ODI game – thanks to Saurav’s fine century and Sachin’s mind-boggling 41 in 26 balls – that six of Saqlain’s first ball of the match still fresh in the mind.
June 1999 – The least remembered of the famous 4 WC wins till date. Prasad was in action again with 5 wickets.
Toronto 1999 – Saurav the bowler – nothing else seemed to matter.
Centurion 2003: Sachin 98 – 14 runs of Shoaib’s first over – He scarred Shoaib for life with that upper cut and gave us fans a memory that will last us a lifetime.
Our first ODI series win in 2004 on Pakistan soil to accompany the historic test win. Nehra this is how you had defended less than 10 runs in that last over. We were down 1-2 later and came back to win the series by winning the last two matches
MSD’s first ODI century – yeah it came against Pak in Vizag in 2005. Hope you showed your dear captain this clipping a numerous times.
And finally the last time we met , we won and knocked them out of the Asia Cup in Jun2010.
We have met them 4 times in a WC since 1992, we hold a clean record. Everytime you failed to win the world cup – we fans consoled ourselves for winning the match that mattered.
So as you meet them again tomorrow, here is a thought.
Dear Team India #YouRemember that as you set afoot on Mohali, tomorrow’s match is neither a peace-making machine nor is it a war (we fight real wars with our neighbors lest people forget). Tomorrow’s match is not the match that matters anymore, that should be the one on 2Apr2011 in Mumbai; tomorrow’s match is merely one of the hurdles you need to cross to win the one that will always matter.