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Hard work, tenacity pays

Musings by Shekhar Nambiar

It has been a relatively quiet November festive season this year. A quieter Diwali I have not ever seen!The air quality being what it is in city after city, I suppose people will have thought it better to play safe.

Diwali day on Sunday had been busy. Shoppers thronged markets that did brisk sales in the lead up to the last day of Amavasya of the Kartik month.

Shopping complex in Delhi on the eve of Diwali

Feverish pitch

In reality, though, the week has been far from quiet, with all things cricket reaching a feverish pitch given India’s entry to the semis.

The Bangalore fixture against the Netherlands, India’s ninth match, saw dazzling centuries by KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer. Both displayed some classic batting and equally scintillating heavy-hitting that got them their respective tons. India set a target of 411 for the Dutch.

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In their innings, Netherlands were just 5 when Barresi nicked a good delivery from Siraj to be caught easily behind the wicket by Rahul.

Kohli celebrates wicket, Rohit and Rahul join.

Spirited Dutch fight

Jasprit Bumrah and Siraj kept the pressure on with some good pace, line and length. The Dutch stayed on steadfast in their resolve to fight the Indian attack.

Shami couldn’t tame the batters and boundaries kept the scoreboard ticking. Ackermann and O’Dowd kept the momentum going, crossing 50 in eight overs.Before long, Kuldeep’s spinhad Ackermann trapped LBW, with the Dutch at 66 for 2. Jadeja then had O’Dowd clean bowled. After this, wickets fell at regular intervals and it was pretty much evident that India’s victory was on the cards.

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Surprise of surprises, Kohli took a wicket much to the delight of the stands and his wife watching the game from the pavilion. The Dutch were bowled out at 250 and India had a comfortable160-run win.

Sheyas on completion of his century, player of the match

Shreyas shines yet again

Shreyas bagged the Man-of-the-Match title.With the last round-robin league match for India also going its way, they surely go to face the Kiwis on Wednesday confidently.

It is heartening that India took to playing the match with all seriousness just as they did in their earlier ones. After all, they could have had made this Bangalore match a practice session for their upcoming semi-finals at Wankhede.

Indian-origin player Teja Nidamanuru was the only Netherlands batsmanto make half a century and Kuldeep Yadav who ultimately dismissed him

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India played sensible cricket, not once giving the impression that they viewed the Dutch as underdogs.

In a sense, the Diwali day match highlights the maturity and singlemindedness with which this Indian team views their game.

Virat Kohli’s wife captured in brilliant reaction after nine-year first wicket at World Cup

Sensible cricket

We haven’t seen this sort of sensible cricket and consistency by the Indians in a long time.  Their mastery in every department of the game was all too evident.

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An excited Bangalore crowd lustily cheered for their IPL star Kohli, who has declared the garden city as his home or adopted city. Kohli, however, got disappointingly out after scoring 51 off 56 balls.

India cricket players celebrating Diwali. Captain Rohit Sarma with wife Ritika Sajdeh.

It seemed everything was bedecked for Deepavali! The commercials and cricket stars all making appearances with Diwali as the theme. They even made overseas cricketers to parrot lines in praise of the uniqueness of the Indian festival.

One of the star anchors of the TV cricket show shed her western outfit for an Indian lehenga in keeping with the festive spirit.

KL Rahul, fastest centurian for India, hundred runs in 62 balls against Netherlands.

The only team to have had an unblemished record at the 2023 ODI World Cup, India has raised the gold standard with a feat that none others could accomplish. Hurdles remain and are yet to be crossed. The entire nation awaits the outcome from Wankhede midweek and then on to the banks of the Sabarmati.

Tailpiece

As I finish penning this pen down, I take back my words that it has been a quiet Diwali this year. I thought it would be! It’s 10 pm now; the firecrackers are at their noisiest. And pollution is at abysmal levels.

So much for awareness, court orders and enforcement!

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Shekhar Nambiar
Shekhar Nambiar
Shekhar is a communications professional who has spent a good deal of time in international organizations and in the development sector. As he puts it, it's been an "exciting journey" for him, beginning his working life as a journalist, with some of the best editors and professionals, before venturing into public affairs and then forays in the private sector. He believes "every day brings new challenges, achievements and success, and the key is to play a small part in whatever it is that you're doing". He tries to keep pace with new tech, and learn a new word a day, of course, "Gen Z lingo!"

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