top of page

Magnificent Manchester - An atmosphere like none other

Nowhere else have I felt more goosebumps and those little shivers running down my spine like the ones I felt as the crowd at Old Trafford sang the national anthem of India in unison with its cricket team. It was India v/s Pakistan after-all, arch rivals off the field and on it as well, albeit not with the same intensity.

Any cricket fan from the subcontinent wishes to experience this once in his/her lifetime and it certainly doesn’t get any bigger than the World Cup. That and the fact that these two teams play against each other only in ICC events added a lot more flair and expectation to the contest. Throughout the history of CWC’s India-Pak clashes have given us some long-lasting memories but Pakistan was yet to get the better of India in a World Cup game. Though we hoped the record remained intact, the wish was for a mouth-watering contest.

But it turned out to be a drab. Pakistan did not seem to turn up for the occasion, and even a spurred-on crowd-support which started about 2 kms from the stadium seemed to do little to boost their morale. The fact that India breezed through to 336 in their 50 overs, with an effortless century from Rohit Sharma and rapid 50’s by Rahul and Kohli would not have helped Pakistan, who were more dependent on their bowling than their unpredictable batting line-up.

Pakistan’s reply began with a major jolt to India, with Bhuvaneshwar Kumar limping off injured. That meant a handicapped bowling line-up and an opportunity for the fringe bowlers to turn up. And turn up they did, first with Kuldeep and then with a double-strike from Pandya. Till Kuldeep struck, the Pakistani’s were in the game with a steady 2nd wicket partnership on a rain-affected day poised to make for an interesting finish, with the DLS angle blended in for more chaos. But Pakistan never recovered from the middle order slump and by the time the teams came back from the second rain break, Pakistan needed to chase at a rate in excess of 36 RPO, handing India a massive 89 run victory.

An anti-climatic game though came with its fair chunk of memories for us as a group; we made it onto the TV broadcast while we were cheering Team India as they went off for a break during a rain interruption. The fact that one of our group members thought that an occasion as big as this was apt for a wedding proposal was pretty gutsy; but she said YES and that was that! The antics and banter with the crowd was different from any other kinds we have experienced; it was all fun and games and in good spirit though, at the end of the match both sets of supporters cheered on in unison and gulped down a beer or two in memory of a good game of cricket.

We left Manchester on a high, as we made our way toward Scotland for the self-drive leg of our journey; before returning back to base and trying our luck to witness the 3rd Holy Grail on the trail.

bottom of page