Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

India v Pakistan, Asia Cup, Mirpur

Bow to His Kohliness

Bunking classes to watch India-Pakistan? Hell yeah

Fahmim Ferdous

Comments: 22 | Text size: A | A
Sachin Tendulkar plays an upper cut for six, India v Pakistan, Asia Cup, Mirpur, March 18, 2012
Tendulkar's upper-cut six: an antidote for gloominess © AFP
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Series/Tournaments: Asia Cup
Teams: India | Pakistan

Choice of game
It was India versus Pakistan, in Dhaka. That kind of a thing happens literally once in 12 years, and my absolute sweetheart of a friend got hold of two of the most sought-after tickets of the year, through her dad's contacts. I felt the match was more important than my electrical engineering lectures, and to my surprise, I found two of my favourite lecturers from the university in the same gallery as me.

Team supported
Pakistan, because their win would allow Bangladesh a slightly easier equation to reach the finals. Though, I would have supported Pakistan regardless.

Key performer
Virat Kohli. The man, bursting with confidence from a dream run, was a class apart. To me he resembled a mountaineer - focussed, gritty, and determined to keep going no matter what the circumstance. The strength of his mind outdid his muscles by a fair margin, which was something, given the muscle-power on display. In the end, he did justice to his name, getting too "Virat" (Hindi/Bangla for "big") for Pakistan.

One thing I'd have changed
Wahab Riaz's lunch menu. Or the DVD he watched the night before. Or maybe the alignment of his bowling shoulder a little bit to the left, so that all those deliveries down the leg side would have been on line. Hard to believe it was the same guy who took a five-for the last time these two sides met.

Face-off you relished
Saeed Ajmal v Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin looked like his old self against the seamers, timing everything exquisitely. But against Ajmal he stumbled, more than once, and was eventually outfoxed by his doosra.

Wow moment
Suresh Raina pulled off a Paul Collingwood-ish blinder at cover to send a dangerous-looking Younis Khan back. If he loses his touch with the bat, Raina can certainly audition for the position of "Seeker" in any Quidditch team.

Close encounter
Praveen Kumar fielded near where we were sitting, and he got heckled for his name, which when translated to Bangla means "elderly bachelor".

Close encounter II
I met the Indian supporter who claims to be Sachin's biggest fan, and backs it up with his action. His face and torso were painted perfectly in the India colours, and "Sachin" was written on his back. He was blowing a conch shell and wielding a huge Indian tricolour flag. He is such a common sight at India's games worldwide, and it was good to have him at our gallery.

Shot of the day
Tendulkar's upper-cut off Aizaz Cheema in the fifth over was like a maestro doing a quick encore of one of his oldest, most famous classic sonatas. It was a moment to reminisce on a bad day - that I have seen Tendulkar hit a bowler for six over the keeper's head will surely cheer me up no matter how low I may be feeling!

Crowd meter
Despite it being the first weekday, the stands were packed long before offices closed. The atmosphere was festive, upbeat and dynamic. Pakistan were narrow favourites, especially because a victory for them would pretty much shut India out of the final, and open it up for Bangladesh. The loudest cheers, very predictably, went up for the two most loved characters of the game in this part of the world - Tendulkar and Shahid Afridi.

Accessories
With too many restrictions on what we could take into the stadium premises, all we managed was my friend's little camera, whose lens covered just us and the wide-angle shots of the grounds.

Overall
It was a high-scoring encounter, had three centuries, and a stunner of a catch. Not much more to expect from an ODI. The atmosphere in the stands was scintillating and the weather just about perfect. Can't complain, unless you're a hardcore Pakistan supporter. Then again, the players have themselves to blame for the defeat.

Marks out of 10
The game would get an 8.5 from me, the deductions being for Pakistan's listless bowling and fielding efforts, and the overall toothless-ness of the Indian bowling attack.

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Fahmim Ferdous is an electrical engineering student-cum-wannabe sports reporter-cum-news presenter and radio jockey-cum-bicycling enthusiast, who is living a good life. There was a time he idolised Brad Hogg, but now he wants to be the next Harsha Bhogle. His biggest regret in life is never getting to watch Shane Warne live on field.

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Comments: 22 
Posted by   on (March 21, 2012, 5:05 GMT)

@Deepan - Kumar means bachelor, not very sure about deepan.

@MudassarHassanShah - you could get an idea if you watch the Indian team at the nets!

@iBilal - that is a huge compliment! Thanks so much!

@Aman Bindal - thanks so much! these compliments mean a lot!

@Puneeth - glad you liked the reference :D

@Saisuman - Everybody cheered for Sachin. Even the most hardcore of Pak supporters. SRT is just above all this!

@cricfan_aus - I've been a supporter of the Pakistan Cricket team for a decade and a half now. I just love their brand of cricket, and some of my all-time favorites belong to that country. No other reason!

@Dinesh - It was actually a little sad to see the toothlessness of their attack. Kohli's great, but he can't bail you out every time!

@Deepak - wow! that's new! thanks a lot :D for the huge compliment!

@shovonbu - it would have. Bangladesh could sneak into the final even without a win against SL if India had lost. That doesn't matter now anyway!

Posted by KingOwl on (March 20, 2012, 19:17 GMT)

So, Praveen Kumar means elderly bachelor in Bangla? I am curious. What does it mean in Hindi? In Singhalese, which is also based on Sanskrit, it means something like famous/great prince.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2012, 13:28 GMT)

Pakistanis always back India's opponents and vice versa. Pakistanis always back Bangladesh and vice versa. Questioning it is rather ridiculous. Fans are entitled to back anyone they want. Whether anyone likes it or not, from my experience of cricinfo, most bengladeshis AND srilankans back pakistan whenever we play India. Similarly, most Pakistanis back bengladesh and srilanka, as well as, for some reason, New Zealand. There is no point in seeking explanations for it.

Thankyou for the support Fahmim! We prayed fervently for you the day you beat India, and everyone knows we had nothing to gain in terms of making the final :D @Indians: Let me point out another "reason". Your team refuses to play bilateral cricket with Bangladesh and your fans regularly disparage their team. Is it any wonder they support us or Srilanka instead?

Posted by ak_kamal on (March 20, 2012, 8:16 GMT)

How did Pakistan Get a Bonus point? Bonus Point - The team that achieves a run rate of 1.25 times that of the opposition shall be awarded one bonus point. A team's run rate will be calculated by reference to the runs scored in an innings divided by the number of overs faced. SL run rate 4.11 - runs scored in an innings (188) divided by the number of overs faced (45.4 overs). PAK run rate 4.74 - runs scored in an innings (189) divided by the number of overs faced (39.5 overs). PAK Run rate is only 1.15 times. The General Presumption of getting a bonus point if team batting first wins by 60 Runs margin and team batting second chases it down in 50 overs will work only if full 50 overs are faced.

Posted by MurVis on (March 20, 2012, 7:28 GMT)

@Fahim: Nice first-hand account of proceedings..Only thing that kind of leaves a sour taste is the "Also, your bowlers couldn't defend 290 against supposed "minnows" Bangladesh. Enough said". India were bad and their bowling is atrocious in recent times..fully agreed but to call your own team minnows kind of degrades their victory in a way that it means only a poor Indian bowling attack would ever lead to a Bangladeshi win..As an Indian, I have never thought of bangladesh as minnows as any team can beat any team on their day as we have seen in recent times and losing to Bangladesh in a one-dayer should be treated no different to losing to any other nation..

Posted by   on (March 20, 2012, 6:42 GMT)

nice one buddy..!! well written..!!

Posted by shovonbu on (March 20, 2012, 6:03 GMT)

I don't agree with the fact that Pakistan's win would allow Bangladesh a slightly easier equation to reach the final. Because then Bangladesh might go to the final even if they loose & if their run rate is better.And where India is clearly ahead of them. And it'll open up a gate for srilanka too they might go for the bonus point and qualify. Now srilanka is out of the tournament and bangladesh can get the benefit of it and beat them.

Posted by US_Indian on (March 20, 2012, 5:05 GMT)

nice one but the picture is not appropriate to the title. it should have been Kohli's rather than SRT's.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2012, 4:17 GMT)

Very nice. Also, you resemble your nation's finest cricketer, Shakib-al-Hasan.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2012, 2:33 GMT)

Nice flow of thoughts from head to paper from an honest fan - kudos! And don't worry about some Indian fans claiming any credit for the bowling attack - the bowling attack today is in the ranks of Kenya and Zimbabwe - the sooner something is done about it the better it is for Indian cricket - Virat Kohli is not going to score 150+ every game of his ODI career!

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