60TH EPISODE. We lost the semi-final to Australia on 26th March. So, thought I could bring back the episode that involved another semi final; this time on 5TH November 1987, Cricket World Cup. India Vs. England. That was Thursday too.
It was important enough a game for few of us to miss office. Mayank Gaur, Milend Gaur and I were at their Noida home and were partying through the night. In fact we were so high in the night and partying so hard that few of the neighbours complained we left for Meerut. Mayank and Milend’s parents were posted at Meerut, we decided to watch the semi final there. (My memory is a bit hazy for details and might be mixing two incidents).
It was foggy night. Mayank was driving a bike and I was driving my RX100. Some of the area the fog was very dense for us not to see much. In some of the place I do remember I was woken up by Milend- asking me to concentrate on the road. It seemed while driving I had taken few winks. I deny this but Milend was sure about it.
We reached Meerut much before sun came up to disperse the fog. We found place to sleep and promptly called it night. Next day was the match. The big match.
The match was being played at the Wankhede Stadium, Bombay. Team was led by Kapil Dev. We won the toss and decided to field. England made 255 with GA Goach hitting 115 and Gatting made 56, helping England recover from 2 for 79 to 3 for 196. Maninder Singh took 3 for 54. It seemed we would make a match of it and reach the final.
The drinks started with the Indian inning. We had enough Beer from the army canteen waiting to be consumed. But suddenly there was silence;
we were 3 for 73, losing Srikant for 31, Gavaskar for 4, NS Sidhu for 22. CS Pandit and Azhar took it to 4 for 121. Beers were out and the viewers like was seeing another win. Then went Kapil and we were 5 for 168 that soon became 6 for 204 with Azhar getting out LBW to Hemming. The beer stopped. The silence became longer. The faces were down. The voice level that as climbing some time back had done the U-turn.
A stunned group watched the situation worsened at an alarming pace and India plummeting to 8 for 218, 8 for 219 and all out on 219 loosing Prabhakar, Chetan Sharma and Shashtri the last man out for 21. Chief wrecker was EE Hemming taking 4 for 52.
The silence was solid and dense like the last night fog. We all were feeling real sad. We had taken it off to enjoy. Not to feel bad. But then life must go on. You cannot mourn for long. I think it was Milend who said, ‘Chalo kushi mai nahi toh gum galat karney kay liyeh piyeh’ (If not for the win let us drink to kill our sorrow). I think that was the cue all were waiting for and no one saying it. Immediately the beer came out.
In no time we were back to drinking and at the same time playing corridor cricket. The lesson was driven home. If you lose a match, you don’t lose life. Drinks can solve most problems especially the low feeling that comes after loosing of a game.
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