• The stakes have never been bigger. A billion or more people are expected to tune in. Thirty-three thousand more cheering your every move loudly, having spent tens of thousands rupees to be there. There’s noise, there’s scrutiny, there are thousands of prayers going up every second. Wagers will be made, work hours will be lost, appointments will be postponed. There’s also pressure. Lots of pressure. And it makes you do funny things. Lance Klusener would know.

    The most successful bowler ever is pitted against the most successful batsman ever. There’s a $3 million purse on the line. Let’s not even start about the life-making windfall awaiting the victor. Above all, here’s the chance to be remembered as the greatest among the greats. In the most even playing field in recent memory, two teams have filtered through layer upon layer of challenges – injuries, controversies, ups and downs, wins and losses, and – as India discovered in Mohali – lunches which were not served on time.

    Beneath all

    Read More »from India vs Sri Lanka: A Clash of Equals
  • Pakistan innings: Overs 41-50:

    Zaheer Khan set things up with a tight 41st over that produced just four despite all the huffing and puffing; Harbhajan nailed it in the next, when he tossed up a ball way too much; it ended up as a full toss and Afridi, overdosing on adrenalin, heaved where he could have guided, put it up in the air, and down the throat of Sehwag at cover. The ask had topped ten, and the tail had been exposed at one end -- and that put India firmly in the box seat.

    From then on, it was almost mathematical: shut them down and take them out. Nehra -- and while on that, it will be a long time before anyone, present company included, questions any decision no matter how bizarre that Dhoni makes -- produced an inswinging yorker onto Umar Gul's front pad to nail him in front of the stump.

    Misbah, who had spent much of his innings in an Abou-ben-Adhem like deep dream of peace, woke up when it was way too late, hitting some crisp shots down the line -- but an asking rate of 3+

    Read More »from Live: India versus Pakistan in Mohali
  • It's just another game.

    No, seriously. It is.

    Yes, there is a World Cup final berth at stake -- but two teams played yesterday for the same stakes, with no one pretending that the fate of the world hung in the balance (in fact, television channels were banging on about today's game while yesterday's was see-sawing through its course).

    Today, two other teams are playing for the second berth -- and that is all they are doing.

    They are not, as politicians from Manmohan Singh down (or up -- it depends on your point of view) would have you believe, taking a big bold step towards peace in the sub-continent. The game is not, as it is being made out to be by the hypemeisters on television, a watershed event that will end terrorism, open borders, revive the glory of akhand Bharat. (Just as, if India and Sri Lanka happen to meet in the final, the game will not be played through the prism of the Indian army's peace-keeping activities in Lanka or Rajiv Gandhi's assassination or the ceaseless

    Read More »from It’s just another game

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