June 16, 2013
Choice of game
Last Champions Trophy. Pakistan versus India. Edgbaston. I couldn't have picked a better game to watch. I had always dreamt of watching an Indo-Pak encounter and this felt like it was meant to be.
As a Pakistani, it wasn't a difficult choice. Pakistan all the way - so much so that I made the trek from Toronto to watch this game live.
Sir Jadeja, for me. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the Man of the Match, but Jadeja's performance is what did it for India. Bowling an in-form Misbah-ul-Haq for a low score when he could have stuck around with Asad Shafiq and done some serious damage is where Sir Jadeja gifted India the game.
One thing I'd have changed
The sun could have been nicer and stuck around for longer. With the sun out, there could have been a better game, fewer interruptions, less annoyance. Also, if the sun were out at the start, I think Nasir Jamshed wouldn't have gotten out to Bhuvneshwar, because there would have been less swing, and Hafeez wouldn't have been distracted by the rain break - but that's my Pakistani bias taking over.
Face-off I relished
I was looking forward to Virat Kohli v Junaid Khan. I know, bummer. I did enjoy a brief face-off when Junaid bowled with good pace and gave Shikhar Dhawan some serious stares, but Dhawan's step-out-and-slash-through-the-cover shots were too good for Junaid. For next time, Dhawan 1 Junaid 0.
Shot of the day
Misbah's reverse sweep on the third ball after rain interruption was my shot of the day, because it was probably the most unexpected shot at that moment. Three wickets down, pressure on Misbah and Shafiq to rotate the strike and Misbah pulls out a reverse sweep. Who would have thought!
The crowd was mostly well behaved except for a few people who had had a drink too many in the Eric Hollies stand. The banter in general was amicable and good-natured between fans from both sides.
Kohli was fielding at the midwicket boundary when the crowd at Eric Hollies decided to chant his name. There were also some comments made to which Kohli just smiled and shook his head. It appeared that the crowd was trying to get a reaction out of him, and from where I was sitting, it looked like Kohli was trying to laugh it off. The crowd thought it had got a rise out of him after he pulled his hand out of the pocket, but then he raised his index finger as opposed to the one the spectators were looking for (remember the Australia tour?). Quite cheeky, Mr Kohli!
Fancy dress index
The Stani Army wins this one hands down. I was with them on the bus that cheered the players on to the team bus from their hotel. With Mr Pakistan, King of Pakistan, Sheikh, doctor and dictator, the Stani Army stood out and were great ambassadors as well.
Banner of the day:
A couple of posters ensured that everyone knew that the Pakistan team was taking a Heathrow to Lahore flight.
It was an average game of cricket. I've seen better and I'm sure many of you have too. The Pakistani body language was not of a team that wanted to win. They looked dejected on the field, despite Mohammad Irfan and Junaid clocking 145kph on occasions. The rain made it worse. However, there were enough exciting moments in the game to ensure that my trip from Toronto wasn't a waste.
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