First, the start was delayed and then the match reduced to 38 Overs, and then that explosive Gilcrist innings followed by a spirited run chase by Sanath and Sanga, during which the LTTE decides to send one of the air-crafts to visit Colombo which sets off spontaneous retaliatory fire by government forces and condemn half of Colombo into darkness.
For those caught in the proximity of the firing, it’s a frightening experience. For the rest of us, the score is 100something for 1, and it’s a great partnership, as Sangakara thwarts one on the offside for 4. But that was about all the excitement we are going to get, as few balls Sanga mis-times the pull-stroke and is caught. Its now up to Sanath and Mahela to pull something off, they keep scoring at a decent pace but the required rate is climbing up, as the drizzle falling in Barbados intensifies, Duckworth/Lewis comes into the picture. Its now a wet pitch, and the game is slipping away as Sanath comes down the pitch to Michael Clark, the ball keeps low and bowled!. End of Sanath, and the end of the match for Sri Lanka…. to fast forward a bit..
Weirdness continues.. its now pitch dark and with 3 overs to go, the umpires offer the light to the batsman who takes it, which sets off a victory huddle by the Aussies, they have won the world cup! but wait, Aleem Dar has other ideas. He kindly informs Ponting, the match might continue tomorrow. Everyone seems confused, Mahela is seen talking to Ponting, and after some more confusing moments later, the Sri Lakan batsman walks in to finish off the game needing 22 runs per over and with the ball no where to be seen, the Sri Lankan tail-enders seem to find it a bit difficult. And finally.. the Aussies have their moment.
Sigh. No wonder people like football.
Its about this time in a blog post, where people say how the better team won and how we are all proud of the boys, and they have done their best, and so on. All of which are true. I just wish we had a different final. Somehow, the occasion deserved something better, something closer to, well, cricket.
It was always going to be a tough game, but all of Sri Lanka hoped. Normally, It would be wrong to call us a cricket-crazy country, we are rather fond of the game, and it’s probably our national pastime (apart from doing nothing and taking holidays) but for the past week or so, you could feel that we were approaching fanatic levels.
So much so, that there were countless religious ceremonies in churches, kovils and temples wishing the cricketers well in the final. But in spite of all that, you’ve got to say that Mother Nature made it a point to be especially unkind to the Sri Lankans, from the reduced overs to bright sun and no-swing when Aussies were batting to the rain and swing when we were batting, to the perfect orchestration of the Jayasuriya dismissal (wet-pitch, duckworth/lewis, heavy-outfield.), the weather certainly played into the hands of the Australians.
But that’s how things go, as people say, what to do. It’s disappointing. Sri Lanka certainly deserves its second place, we played some great cricket, and as Kamran Abbasi from the Blog Pak Spin says, the moments of the world-cup belonged to Sri Lanka.
“...for each over-whelming favorite there is an over-whelming supported underdog. Hundreds of millions of cricket fans will be rooting for Mahela's Magicians simply because it would be great to see somebody other than Australia win. More than that the magic moments of this World Cup--Malinga's four in four and the final-ball defeat of England--have belonged to Sri Lanka. There is a variety in their bowling--slingers, swingers, and doosras--that gives them the best chance of humbling Australia. That's before we get into the poetic justice of Murali triumphing over the country that has brought him most humiliation.” [link]
It wasn’t to be, but perhaps another time.