September 30, 2013
Choice of game
I am interning at the Times of India and my beat is sports, so I attended all the Challenger Trophy matches. I predicted India Blue would win since they had performed more consistently than Delhi in the tournament.
I was rooting for an exciting game of cricket on a pitch on which batsmen and bowlers would have equal opportunities to shine, as claimed earlier by the curator.
The target of 275 on a decent wicket wasn't going to be tough for the strong Delhi line-up. But Bhuvneshwar Kumar ripped through the top order with his lethal swing and did not let anyone settle in. He then gave the side another breakthrough in his second spell to wrap up the game.
One thing I'd have changed
The Challenger Trophy had attracted a big crowd since it featured many big names of Indian cricket. There was free entry for all games, so the final on Sunday had a full house. The police had to lathi-charge the crowd twice because of a few rogues, which left a sour taste in everyone's mouth. I would have edited that incident out of the match if given a chance.
Face-off I relished
Bhuvneshwar was at his best when crowd favourite Virat Kohli came to the crease. Kohli managed to survive his inswinger and outswinger but was run out feeling the pressure of getting the score moving.
When Bhuvneshwar uprooted Unmukt Chand's off stump, the stadium erupted. The noise gave me goose bumps.
Vinay Kumar was harassed by the crowd that had been unruly throughout the tournament. Ankeet Rajpoot had reported an incident of a bottle thrown at him a couple of days back. In this match, Vinay reported a couple of fans who were making unacceptable personal comments regarding him.
Shot of the day
Ashish Nehra's first-ball six to long-off will live long in the memory of the people who saw him smash it into the stands.
Kohli and Yuvraj Singh were cheered loudly whenever they turned towards the crowd, but Virender Sehwag, who made the world-record 219 at this venue, stole the limelight every time he walked to the crease.
It was a great game. The crowd was appreciative of the performances and all the big moments of the tournament: Sehwag's blistering half-century, Piyush Chawla's astonishing catch at long-on, Chand's hundred and Bhuvneshwar's spell in the final.
Marks out of 10
9 for the final and 8 for the tournament.
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Saransh Karnawat, 19, is interning at the Times of India in Indore while studying for an under-graduate degree in Mass Communication. He loves playing squash, cricket and football, and idolises Cristiano Ronaldo, Brett Lee, Ricky Ponting, Shane Watson, Rafael Nadal and Ramy Ashour.
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