India wins the first ODI. Made heavy weather of it but won it; and for now that is enough. The match was tense as usual (cannot remember the last time India had an ODI which was not nail-biting…ICC should give us special allowances since we make every match, even one’s with Kenya and Canada, a nail-biter).
Nonetheless for all the problems both teams had the match was great fun. It was to be expected that the ODI series is going to have batting friendly wickets but the totals amassed was way beyond expectations. It was a treat to watch Sehwag, Ganguly and Dravid play the innings they did. (At this point I just wanted to put forth a new idea…how about Sehwag gets only half his match fee if he does not last till at least the 25th over) However the innings of the day, and the one instrumental in a well deserving man of the match title, was the innings of Inzy. He has always been a person with immense potential but has rarely lived up to it in recent years. This innings was worthy of his legend and completely overshadowed all the other innings of the day, including a gusty from Youhana. Really shows how an Indo-Pak match can revitalize the players.
A special mention must be made of the crowd who made it a point to applaud good cricket irrespective of nationality. With such auspicious beginnings we could resurrect the greatest rivalry of all time. Here’s to a hope that all the other matches are played with equal enthusiasm (albeit with less mistakes and more accurate and tighter bowling) and healthy spirit of competition.
An aside, did anyone notice the look on Shoaib Akhtar’s face when he bowled out Dravid. He was happy for the wicket as signified by his upraised hands but I felt that his face betrayed a tinge of sadness for Dravid. This was the first time I have seen a muted celebration of a wicket by Shoaib. I guess it shows that the respect for a good cricketer knows no boundaries.
Footnote: Pak got back by winning the hockey game against India 4-2. Well you win some and you lose some.