New Delhi: The Twenty20 carnival has come to its end with a new champion. Pakistan have dethroned India as the defending champions. They had missed it by a whisker in 2007 but they did it this year. Somewhat like Roger Federer clinching French Open after a hobbling and struggling defending champion Rafael Nadal made an early exit.
I know it aches many Indian hearts but it's an undeniable fact. And seriously, it could not have met a better end.
Ponder over it and everything falls into place. It was March 3 when Sri Lankan cricketers, who had toured Pakistan because India declined to go there post-26/11, were attacked in Lahore. That was something unimaginable. Cricket and cricketers were never attacked in the sub-continent.
With other teams being reluctant to visit Pakistan and PCB's internal conflicts, the cricket has taken a severe beating there. This win has probably come as a fresh gush of wind that has brought smiles alive on terror-struck faces.
Sri Lanka, like their neighbours, too have been in turmoil because of the internal war between LTTE and security forces. The battle might be said to be over but the losses incurred are unfathomable.
It was heartening to see these two countries playing for their troubled countrymen. Despite the efforts of menacing minds, it was cricket that prevailed proudly, successfully.
Not that if India had made it to final again, it would have pleased me any less. Like any Indian fan, I too wanted my team to defend the title at any cost. But it was not to be. Everything they did just boomeranged. Batting failed to click, bowling was not up to the mark and fielding should just not be talked about.
With stories pouring of players' injuries and fatigue, the fact remains that it was a complete disaster for the defending champions. But instead of crying hoarse and asking for 'heads' of their 'demi-gods', fans should rather react in a restrained manner.
Apart from India, it was South Africa and Australia who disappointed cricket fans all over. With Ashes looming, it seemed Australia were never interested in the World T20. And after Andrew Symonds' English escapade that saw the burly all-rounder fly back, Australia played like a bunch of lost kids. Batting never clicked and bowling had no sting. Justly, they were eliminated in the very first round.
South Africa, on the other end, were hot-favourites to win the title. They looked like a well-jelled unit that was bulldozing everybody who came in their way. But ghosts of the past came at the wrong time to haunt them. They lost their invincibility in the knock-out stage. They faltered in the semi-finals against Pakistan to retain the 'chokers' tag that has stuck with them for ages.
West Indies played some good cricket in the tournament but then it had to be only two teams for the summit clash. England showed some missing aggression after the rude awakening and knocked out their last World T20 nemesis India.
And unpredictable that this format is, it saw a great beginning when minnows like Netherlands thumped England in the tournament opener. Come to think of it, the T20 tournament was like a well-written script.