Things were going in the usual way till Dhoni and his boys took the match to the last over © AFP
Things were going in the usual way till Dhoni and his boys took the match to the last over © AFP (File Photo)

There’s a vast difference between an ‘Indian’ cricket fan and a cricket fan. Things have to be exaggerated to the extreme level when an Indian watches a match; an unmarked holiday the day India plays. Daily soaps and serials, which keep the housewives and maids stuck to the TV on usual days, see the lowest of TRPs as they also, surprisingly, love to see ‘MS Dhoni‘ and ‘Virat Kohli‘ take India to a perfect victory. Emotions flow during any India match; and while sometimes that becomes the best part, sometimes it gets intolerable for cricket-lovers. India vs Bangladesh, ICC World T20 2016: Six balls that stopped the world

Talking about India matches, one has to admit that the India vs Bangladesh clash on Wednesday was one of the dramatic ones so far in the tournament. To chase an average score at a stadium like Chinnaswamy that happens to have a packed house in non-India matches and then the match going down to the wire, it had to be a cracker. Though not present at the venue, it felt no different than that, courtesy my fellow hostelites. There are two ways how I catch a match: 1.) In the office with statistical and factual analysis going along with banter and jokes, and 2.) In the hostel with people cheering, yelling and abusing, as well as illogically hoping of India scoring 36 off 6 balls and the list goes on.

After a fact-filled first innings as India posted 146, I opted to go back to hostel to catch the chase. Hardly I had the idea that it will compel me to write down some 1000 words about the experience.

The target was average, not up to India’s standards who have star batsman Kohli, who has redefined consistency or Rohit-264-Sharma or even their last-ball-six specialist skipper. The very few fireworks came from Suresh Raina, who was back in action scoring 30 off 23, hitting two sixes to the Indian fans’ delight.

Indian and Bangladeshi fans do not have a very good relationship; Photoshop skills of some random person can be blamed. Then, both happen to be few of the most passionate breeds. Equations have changed in world cricket and India-Bangladesh matches have become the new India-Pakistan, and the reason is not that Bangladesh was previously called East Pakistan but their cricketing abilities.

Things were going in the usual way till Dhoni and his boys took the match to the last over. Before that, Jasprit Bumrah, the most trusted bowler of the last few matches, had turned the villain for dropping Tamim Iqbal and leaking easy runs. The point that he made a brilliant comeback with the ball in the death overs, when the team needed him the most, went unnoticed. He had been cursed to everyone’s heart’s content and it would not have been surprising to see people with placards abusing him had India not won the match. Such is the impact of the game!

Dhoni goes up to Pandya for pep talk during the match © Getty Images
Dhoni goes up to Pandya for pep talk during the match © Getty Images

Okay, here comes the stereotypical quote: MS Dhoni is one of the calmest and cool-headed captains. He has been like this ever since he entered the international arena, and that is the reason he has been there. When Hardik Pandya was handed the ball, Bangladesh needed 11 runs off 6 deliveries, and my entire hostelites clan stood up on their feet shouting in unison ‘Abe isko kyu diya re? Dubayega aaj toh!’ (Why did you hand the ball to him? He will end it all for India).

Pandya took the run up, a full-length delivery but just a single came from it. People regained their seats. Dhoni goes up to Pandya for pep talk.

– “Abe gadha, ab kya samjhayega, hara to diya almost. Pandya ko over diya hain!

-“Gyan baant raha hain!”

Dhoni takes risks, as he loves being in that situation for some reason. May be, that is what made him what he is today. He has always taken up the ways someone would least think of. That’s where his fate swings: the decision decides if he will become the hero or villain the next day. When Pandya’s next two deliveries went for consecutive boundaries, the entire world turned cricket experts. “Hardik Pandya? Seriously, Dhoni?” “Everyone knows how he tends to leak runs”, “over-enthusiastic fellow, too fresh to put such responsibilities on his shoulders” and more.

Pandya took a wicket off the next ball, and another off the next and I used to think a protractor measures 180 degree angle better. “Pandya, you beauty!” “See, this is MS Dhoni. He is such an intelligent skipper!”

Bangladesh needed 2 runs off the last delivery. Super over? Bangladesh? India? Speculations were on along with jinxing, cross-jinxing, prayers and what not! Pandya came in with an off-cutter; it raced passed to land in Dhoni’s safe gloves. Dhoni ran towards the stumps way before Mustafizur Rahman reached the striker’s end and hit the stumps. Third umpire declared it to be a run-out. India won, crowd rejoiced, ‘Holi’ turned ‘Diwali’.

But the last ball reminded me of England vs India, 2014 series—the only Twenty20 International. India needed 9 runs to win. Dhoni denied the single to keep strike. HE HIT A BOUNDARY! He again denied to take a single. Dhoni scored only one off the last ball and India lost by 3 runs. People went on blaming Dhoni, his distrust on Ambati Rayudu and established him as the reason behind the loss. The boundary? People hardly remembered.

If one talks logic, no captain would like to leave it upon destiny. Every one has their own game plan, and a captain, who has after his name a World Cup, definitely thinks before taking a decision.

But this is India, people will blame the skipper if India loses but will love him even more post a victory. That is how passionate Indians are regarding cricket. And Dhoni, he will remain the same: sometimes a hero, sometimes a villain.

(Paulami Chakraborty, a singer, dancer, artist, and photographer, loves the madness of cricket and writes about the game. She can be followed on Twitter at @Polotwitts)