Cricket carnival from New York to Barbados, wonderful moments from the Men In Blue

Debasis Sen with Captain Rohit Sharma and his captured pic of Virat Kohli with the WC Trophy
Debasis Sen with Captain Rohit Sharma and his captured pic of Virat Kohli with the WC Trophy (PC: Debasis Sen)

Debasis Sen in Barbados

It was an emotional moment for Rohit Sharma and his boys to emerge champions of the ICC T20 World Cup on Saturday, beating South Africa by seven runs in the final at the Kensington Oval. Chasing 176 runs to win, the Proteas batters fell short. It was a truly dominating performance from Team India to win the coveted T20 World Cup. For me, it was an emotional moment as well, having covered almost all the men’s ICC events in the last 15 years. It was extremely satisfying after having witnessed the loss against Australia at home in the 50 overs World Cup, last November.

The tournament started rocking with the USA leg with India’s matches scheduled in New York. But the make-shift arrangements at the Nassau County International stadium left a lot to be desired. The drop-in wickets at the practice facilities at Cantiague Park and the main venue invited a lot of criticism, from all quarters. The outfield, too, was very sluggish, resulting in low scoring. The facilities at the stadium left a lot to be desired. Fans and media were made to walk for 2 kms at the Eissenhower Park to reach the stadium

Rohit and the Men in Blue began the tournament with a comprehensive win against Ireland at the Nassau County International stadium in New York. They followed it up with a victory against arch rivals Pakistan. The bowlers, led by Jasprit Bumrah, successfully defended the paltry 119 runs. Rishabh Pant top scored with 42 runs while Bumrah took 3/14. India registered a convincing seven-wicket win against the co-hosts on June 12 at the same venue. Arshdeep Singh was the pick of the bowlers, with four wickets for nine runs.

Despite the game against Canada at the Central Broward Park abandoned due to a wet outfield, India qualified for the Super Eights topping Group A with seven points from four matches.

Compared to what we witnessed in the USA, the experience in Barbados was completely different. The Immigration at the Grantley Adams airport in Bridgetown had T20 World Cup branding all over, welcoming the visitors to the island. The facilities at the Kensington Oval were top class.

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Rahul Dravid, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli after ICC T20 WC 2024 Triumph
Rahul Dravid, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli after ICC T20 WC 2024 Triumph (PC: Debasis Sen)

India registered a comprehensive win against Afghanistan in the Super 8 fixture on June 20. The highlight of India’s win was Suryakumar Yadav’s (53 runs in 28 balls) knock and Hardik Pandya’s 42, off 34 balls. India had posted 181 runs on the scoreboard. In response, Afghanistan was bowled out for 134 runs, with Arshdeep Singh and Jasprit Bumrah picking three wickets each. India posted a comfortable win against Bangladesh at Sir Viv Richards stadium in Antigua on June 22.

Hardik Pandya top scored with a brilliant 50 off just 27 balls. Chasing 197 runs to win, Bangladesh were restricted to 146 runs. In a rematch of the 50 overs World Cup final, India took sweet revenge by beating the Aussies by 24 runs and sealing a spot in the semi-final. Captain Rohit Sharma scored a brilliant 92 runs off 41 balls at the Darren Sammy stadium in Saint Lucia. Australian opener Travis Head looked threatening with 76 runs off 43 balls but failed to take his side home. Arshdeep Singh took 3/37.

There was a huge logistical challenge for all the teams as they had to travel from one island to another on match days. Rohit and his boys, on two occasions, reached the venue of their matches around mid-night. Ahead of the first Super 8 match in Antigua, captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja all turned up for optional practice session, in a bid to get back to form.

India comprehensively registered a 68 runs win over England in the second semi-final at the Providence stadium in Guyana. After being put into bat, India posted 172 runs with Rohit Sharma scoring consecutive fifty (57 off 39 balls) along with Suryakumar notching up 47 runs in 36 balls. England were bowled out for 103 runs in 16.4 overs. Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel scalped three wickets each while Bumrah bagged two more.

Overall, it was a nice experience witnessing the cricket carnival in the USA and the Caribbean,.

Also Read: The return of Hardik Pandya