We’ve all had this feeling before. A mixture of anticipation and trepidation before the big exam. When it’s all or nothing.
This is Australia v India.
This is the World Cup Semi-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The India v Australia 1992 World Cup game in Brisbane gave me my first ever cricketing memory. India lost by one run in an exciting finish.
In 1996 at the Wankhede, Sachin waged a lone battle before getting stumped off a Mark Waugh wide. We didn’t even know that such a thing could happen! And it should not have been allowed to happen to Sachin of all people! Naturally, India lost.
The next such game was a Super Six game in 1999 at the Oval. India and Australia were equal on points at the bottom of the table so this was a virtual knockout game. Sachin went in the first over off Mc Grath. Jadeja (Ajay) and Robin Singh hit some sixes towards the end. Again, India lost.
There were two India-Australia games in the 2003 World Cup. The first one was the 125 all out disaster (players houses were attacked etc.). The second one was the final which Varun and I watched together at his place between our class XII board exams (man, we were really pumped up for that game but it lasted as long as Zaheer’s 15 run first over). Maybe we don’t need to remind you, but India lost both games. Also, in case you were wondering, Varun and I did manage to pass our exams somehow.
Then came the Quarter Final in 2011. Probably our toughest game of the tournament. Ricky scored a hundred but Yuvraj and Raina saw us home. What a relief! Oh, what glorious scenes! Enduring image from Motera below. Feel those goosebumps.
The full innings can be seen here.
Which bring us to tomorrow (or tonight depending on the part of the world you live in).
After the pulsating semi-final yesterday, this is going to be another difficult one for the fans. The Australians are tough to beat anywhere in the world, let alone at home. India have a pretty poor ODI record at the SCG (12 losses out of 14 games v Australia).
But this Indian team might just be up to the challenge. Seven wins in a row. Confidence riding sky high. A vocal crowd that has travelled from all parts to support our boys (see travel diaries here and here). Bowlers on a rampage bowling out the opposition. And batsman who haven’t even kicked into fifth gear yet. Really hoping someone (read Warner, Mitch J, Watto) sledges Kohli to get him going.
This is the Indian team’s chance to put the test series, the tri-series and the last four months of chasing leather behind them.
All will be forgiven by the Indian cricket fan if they beat Australia here.