“We’re so late!”
“No, we are not.”
“I warned you about the traffic.”
“We’ll be fine, relax.”
“I told you we should’ve left earlier!”
“You’re just nervous, we’ll be in the box before the toss, promise.”
Thus continued my rant(of which I am not particularly proud, to say the least) all the way to the Wankhede Stadium. You see, on April 2nd, 2011 all roads led to one place, and place only……to the venue of the ICC Cricket World Cup Final in Mumbai. Millions of eager fans world-over were ready to watch this ultimate game on screen, at home, in bars, outside store windows, anywhere that they could catch a glimpse of this match.
Since we’re in the warm up to the upcoming ICC World Cup 2019, I had to reminisce about my trip to the hottest and most coveted seat of that glorious day in 2011.
Inside the stadium which was filled to its capacity with 42,000 pumped-up spectators, I couldn’t hear a thing, and apparently neither could the match referee. He made MS Dhoni (our legendary Indian Captain) toss the coin twice, which led to a lot of confusion.
“Is he serious?”
“Dhoni said he wanted to bat first, and then he makes him toss again?”
“This can’t be a good omen!”
The Sri Lankan captain eventually won the toss on the second attempt and decided to bat first. They scored a decent 274.
“You wanna grab a bite? The spread looks amazing,” offered my husband in the innings break.
“I couldn’t get a morsel in, even if I wanted to.”
“If the first wicket holds for 15 overs, we win!” predicted a cousin.
“They need to get a blazing start, then build it from there,” countered my other cousin.
Live commentary and fervent discussions were on amongst all our family who were watching this spectacle together there.
When our first wicket fell, I swear you could hear even a pin drop. And I immediately fled from the box (which now, felt like a box of nervousness) and paced the empty hallways outside, chanting. My heart summersaulted with every reaction from the crowd.
I can’t believe I missed going to the temple today. Today of all days. Wait. Am I speaking to myself? BREATHE….in….out…in….out
Oooooooh….followed by a long silence!
This can’t be good!
NOOOO, another wicket!
I should return home….
Wait, the tickets were too hard to get, no way, I’m not going anywhere.
More pacing. More praying.
“Hey come on in. It’ll be okay, we still have a few players left.”
“No no I can’t watch it, Let me be, please,” I urged
And so continued the game inside and me pacing, playing guessing games, trying to gauge the crowd’s reaction while praying. After some time and the fall of yet another wicket, I heard the one name that had me halting mid step. I rushed in, not wanting to miss a single glimpse of my favourite sportsman in the whole world, MS Dhoni.
“He promoted himself up the order?!”
“Looks like it.”
We couldn’t hear a word over the cheering crowd. “DHONI! DHONI! DHONI!” continued the chanting. If I thought I was the only Dhoni fanatic, I was so wrong. Yet, the obvious edginess was palpable all over the stadium. Cricket is a team sport where every player has a role to play, but for me in this mayhem (or on any other day actually) MS Dhoni was the man. His calm and collected composure was good enough to soothe my fraying nerves. Today it was temporary though, as the game of cricket isn’t over till it’s over, and Sri Lanka had a strong bowling attack, so this match could go either way.
Pray. Pray. Pray.
Win! Win! Win!
God answered my prayers in the form of MS Dhoni. Who can forget the SIX that he smashed, which won us the match and the world cup. Dhoni salute! Team India Salute! And then the celebrations started. Emotional, crazy, loud, beautiful, glorious celebrations.
“I knew Dhoni would win it for us. DHONI! DHONI! DHONI!”
“We probably won because of all your praying and patrolling the hallways.” teased my husband, wiping my wet cheeks.
“You never know.” I gloated.
“You should’ve just paced in the temple you missed going to today. You made me work so hard for these impossible to get tickets and barely even watched the game.”
picture credits: Getty images and zimbio