Ravindra Jadeja Soaks Up Pressure to Seize the Day

Via: IPL

The equation had changed from 13 off 6 to 10 from 2. Mohit Sharma was bowling the most brilliant last over one could possibly hope to see. Four yorkers, and he had nailed them all. Faced with his deceptive and incredible skill, Shivam Dube and Ravindra Jadeja were finding it incredibly hard to get the ball away. He just needed to do it for one more ball. Had that been anything less than four, Gujarat Titans would have celebrated back-to-back titles. It was that close.

Jadeja, on strike, knew it well. It was his moment of reckoning. He could be the hero for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) if he managed the impossible, or he could go down as one who failed to get his team over the line when under pressure. That’s how cruel sport is. The margin for error is practically non-existent in a high-stakes contest. And here it was the IPL title that was on the line. Immortality and mega-stardom.

Imagine the pressure he was under. Perhaps the most-used word when it comes to sport. Everyone who has played sport will tell you there is always pressure. From fans, parent bodies, sponsors, family and, most importantly, from yourself. At the end of the day, a sportsperson is alone, grappling with his or her own mind. A mind often full of clutter, frequently fighting to be freed. Of all the thoughts that keep flooding in, of the possibilities that keep disturbing the equilibrium, and finally of all the hope and expectation.

Also Read: CSK’s Middle-Order Steel Eclipses Sensational Sudharsan

Sachin Tendulkar, who played the sport with maximum pressure for a good two-and-a-half decades, described pressure really well. According to him, there are two ways to deal with it. The first is if the pressure is kept behind a performer. Say a million people are behind you. In such a scenario, where the pressure is behind you and pushing you ahead, it can only help you get better and propel you further. That’s how Tendulkar dealt with pressure. He always used it as a tool. Something that helped him to get better and do something tangible for the country.

With Jadeja it must have been similar. At 1am in the morning, the sea of yellow in the stands was pleading him to do something miraculous. And he stayed still. Did not let the pressure get to him. Mohit erred slightly, as is human in such situations, and Jadeja pounced in a flash. It was the straight hit. Just as the ball sailed over the boundary, the yellow hordes found their collective voice. They knew it was now down to one ball.

And again, it was that dreaded word. Pressure. Who would handle it better – Jadeja or Mohit? For all the magic that he had shown throughout the tournament, Mohit did not get it right last ball. A hit-me ball on leg stump that Jadeja just guided it past short fine leg. And as he did so, the yellow mass erupted. CSK had won the title for a fifth time, and Jadeja had completely redeemed himself after the poor 2022 season.

Via: IPL

It was all about who wanted it more. Who could keep calm? The line between error and superhuman effort is often wafer-thin. Jadeja was the last hope, and he was up against a fast-surging asking rate. Mohit was bowling like a dream. He was, in fact, one of the best death bowlers in this tournament, but those last two balls narrowly missed their mark. It happens to the very best, and that’s what makes sport what it is. Mohit too may have a chance at redemption, but those two balls were all about Jadeja and seizing the day.

Jadeja, with this effort, has turned a new leaf. He can, in adverse conditions, deliver with both bat and ball. That’s what he has proved time and again this IPL. That’s what the new Jadeja is all about. The sword dance, which I was so keen to see, did not come out this tournament, but what did was way more special for every CSK fan. That’s because Jadeja, it seemed, has made peace with himself as a player. He managed pressure the best and was always in control. In doing so, he scripted a near-miracle. And that’s why CSK are champions, kings of the IPL castle once again.

Also Read: Jadeja Gifts Dhoni the Perfect Ending

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