There are some things money can’t buy. Watching a ball sail over the ropes with 6 runs needed and 1 ball remaining is one of them. Every soul present at Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore for the Champions League T20 clash between Royal Challengers Bangalore and the South Australian Redbacks would understand the emotions, a treat of emotions which will linger on in their minds for days to come. It was a historic cricket match with over 400 runs scored within a span of 40 overs. This spectacle might not ever come again, because these are the moments when heroes are born, when a phoenix rises from the ashes. It was Arun Karthik’s second of glory – a situation which every aspiring cricketer dreams to live, and conquer. A last ball six combined with a fierce and knowledgeable Bangalore crowd on its feet.
With 9 runs to get from 3 balls, most RCB supporters would have lost hope. With 7 runs needed from 2 balls, (and another wicket down) the word ‘nervous’ was not in anybody’s dictionary. They were all set to go, with some irritated fans screaming in Kannada, “Is this a test match?!” And with 6 runs to get from 1 ball, most would say, “Nah. No hope. Let’s just watch ANYWAY.” Christian delivered a slower ball as eminently hittable as Chetan Sharma’s infamous full toss in Sharjah, 1985. Arun Karthik coolly stayed deep in his crease and heaved with all his might over midwicket to become a hero. The stadium ERUPTED. There were people hugging and crying in disbelief. There was a sea of red flags going up in the air, there were chants of ‘RCB! RCB! RCB!’ all around the ground, there was joy in the city as their team, yes THEIR local boys, had done them proud.
The fixture itself was one hell of a rollercoaster with both teams’ bowling units getting belted by the opposition. The match had everything to it – a classy T20 century by Daniel Harris – only the third in Champions League history, a mammoth total of 215 setup by the Australians, a heroic performance by Virat Kohli who probably played the best knock of his T20 career, a booming start from Dilshan and Gayle who set the tone for some sublime finishing and confidence boost, an astonishing 5 wicket haul for Shaun Tait and a very emotional ending for any RCB supporter thanks to Arun Karthik. The win propelled the Red and gold brigade from bottom of the table to semi-finalists of the Champions League T20, a trophy which can quite realistically fill their cabinet!
Accomplishing 216 from 20 overs was too much to ask for the Garden City boys as this was a total they had never chased down in HISTORY. Most pundits called RCB’s dream run to the IPL final earlier this year as a ‘one man show’ or the ‘Gayle force’. But the most beautiful part of today’s win was that this was an all round team effort, not just a one-man war. A euphoric feeling which rarely comes, a scream so loud you can hardly feel the wind, tears so amazing that you just want to keep crying, Arun Karthik delivered the city of Bangalore what they rightfully deserved for supporting their army loyally for 4 seasons without silverware.
Ecstatic would be an understatement, as people were seen doing a ‘Ganguly’ and swirling their shirts in gleeful disbelief! The red and gold army has now roared, a semi-final after tonight’s celebrations now awaits the Bangalore crowd whose confidence was rocketed sky high. A feeling which one would hope replicate after possibly lifting the trophy in Chennai on October 9th. And you know what was the best part about it all?
I was there. I cried as the ball flew over the ropes. I actually felt the stadium erupt. I was there.