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Duke Jeyaraj puts the Champions Trophy 2013 India-England Final in Edgbaston, England on 23 June 2013 in poetry & prose. Poetry
This Champions Trophy Final almost never took off because of the near non-stop rainfall, In the end, it was it proved to be an edge-of-the-seat exciting game for all, A gripping World Tournament Final it was, with any result possible until the very last ball. Like he had done all through the tourney, Opener Dhawan the ball in his typical style, maul, As India’s innings progressed, big-match hero’s Dhoni’s duck did the Indian frenzied fans, appall, Bopara’s mid-innings wicket-to-wicket wicket-taking bowling India’s run-progress, did stifle and stall, But Kohli & Jadeda’s calculated hitting got India, in the given tough conditions, a total which was definitely not small, India bowlers bowled a tight line, and it looked like England’s were to suffer their typical World Tourney Finals’ fall, But battler Bopara and ‘monk’ Morgan counter-attacking hitting had India’s backs against the wall, Raina’s three tight overs kept India in the hunt – this was turning out to be a match whose end was certain to enthrall, When Dhoni asked his least-effective bowler of the day, Ishant, to bowl over No. 18, he, a fool, some wanted to call, But it proved to be a Master stoke, and winner of that nerve-wracking Over No. 18 mini-battle was the man so tall, Edgbaston crowd were at the edge of their seats, as Ashwin bowled with six needed off the last ball, Tredwell’s heave did not connect, it was England’s turn, yet again, in a global ODI Final, to drink ‘wine mixed with gall’, Jumping like an excited School Kid, Dhoni let out a scream that would have been heard even in the land of Gaul! At the presentation, Dhoni remarked that he told his team, that it was not to God for intervention, they must look to call, But instead, they had to make England, fight for every run, and give every ball, their all, And the Indian team’s heeded to their captain’s words to jai lbreak from their potentially boat-sinking squall! The World T20, the World ODI, the Test No.1 and this Champions Trophy – long was the list of Dhoni’s title haul! Dhoni’s advice to his team during the break may have worked a wonder, But in the game of life, when we refuse the Ever-Present Help’s help, that would be a big blunder, “How can my life be purposeful and meaningful?” – if that’s the question about which you deeply ponder, Here is my answer - a living, daily, relationship with Jesus will give a lasting joy, which the Devil cannot plunder! And fill your walk with purpose, peace-amidst-storm, in each step and an eternal home to bask in, yonder!
Prose: THE BAIT THAT BOPARA BIT; THE BAIT YOU DON'T HAVE TO BITE!
England seemed to have a walk-in-the-park for victory, after early hiccups, when Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara stitched-together a brisk stand 50-plus run stand in a mere 40-plus balls (in their pursuit of India’s 129 in the Champions Trophy 2013 rain-reduced 20-Over each Final at Edgbaston, England. Knowing that
the game was quickly slipping out of his hands, Dhoni sort of laid a trap for Bopara and Morgan. He gave the 18th over to Ishant Sharma, his weakest bowler of the day, notwithstanding that overs were remaining for Umesh Yadav and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar. Dhoni perhaps thought, “They will want to kill the chase in this Ishant over itself knowing that tough-to-score-off Jadeja and Ashwin will bowl the 19th and 20th over. But even as they go for risky shots, they will
give us a chance to get back into the match!” (as Sidharth Monga pointed out). Ishant got hit for a six, as he began and went on to bowl a couple of consecutive nervous wides. The equation after this was 20 required off 16. Easy to do in any match-situation in modern day Cricket, one might say. But that’s exactly when Ishant struck in the 3rd ball of his wayward, match-turning over. First, Eoin Morgan and then, Ravi Bopara, were out, caught inside the ring, to seeminglyinnocuous Ishant successive slow deliveries. Ishant had become India’s new Joginder, as Monga put it (remember the 2007 T20 IndiaPakistan Final?). Both Morgan and Bopara had yielded to temptation – you could see it that way. They fell into traps set for them by one of the canniest skippers in World Cricket. Their team eventually lost the close game as a result. And, yes, the Cup too. ‘England failed to win a global one-day event after 17 attempts in 38 years’ – as John Etheridge put it. Peter Miller put England’s debacle in that glorious game this
way: ‘A choke is when you are in a position where winning is all but assured and you still manage to lose. In the final England needed 20 runs from 16 balls with six wickets and two overs of Powerplay left, and they lost. That is a choke.’
When we are lured with temptation’s bait (James 1:14) we must not bite the bait like Morgan and Bopara bit the Dhoni-organized Ishant bait. We must stay strong. We must overcome temptation. We must say ‘no’ to sin. We must not be Samsons who yield to charms of the Delilah lap. We must not be the Proverbs 7 Naughty single boys running to be alone with dangerous, married, women! Instead, we must be the Joey boys (Josephs) who run away from our brazen seductresses! Ravi Bopara, if he had stayed till the end, would have scored the winning runs for his team, given the brisk pace at which he was batting. He would have been, the Man of the Final, if he had done that. I am saying this because he bowled very well to dismiss two batsmen who could have taken the game away from England with their big hitting – Raina and Dhoni – in over number 13 – apart from batting well in a low-scoring game. But it was not to be. The other Ravi, Ravi Jadeja became man of the Match for similar exploits. Bopara got out when his team needed him the most. His team eventually lost. His team lost their last four wickets for just three runs. How much his fool-hardy stroke against Ishant in the 18th over cost him!
I can see a faint connect between England’s Bopara and Israel’s Achan. Achan of the Bible made a foolish choice (Read Joshua 7). He took for himself objects that God told Israel not to touch. The result? He was affected. His nation was affected. He was stoned to death along with his family. His nation’s advancement to the promise land was delayed. The capture of Canaan was pegged back. He sinned as an individual but we must note that even his nation got rebuked (Josh. 7:1,11). There is a possibility that my individual sin may not only affect me. It may go on to affect my family too (Ask Achan – Josh.7:24). It may well go on to affect my city. It may, in all likelihood, affect even my country. Therefore, I should take care to live holy. Live pure. Jesus has already made me holy. But that does not mean, I do not have to take efforts to live holy. Both truths are in Scripture. Jesus has already ‘made purifications for our sin’ (Heb 1:3) and we are ‘made holy in Christ’ (I Cor. 1:2), yet we must resist sin, in our day to day lives, to the point of even shedding our blood and strive for holiness without which no one can see God (Heb 12:4, 14). I can live holy with God enabling me, and I making the constant Spirit-led choice to do so, in other words. You too can.
(Duke Jeyaraj is a Cricket Enthusiast who also the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission, a ministry to Google Generation. Find more details about Duke at www.googlegeneration.in)
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