Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hyderabad Nights

This past weekend, due to inadvertant flight mishaps, we spent much of the weekend in Hyderabad. On Friday night I organized a night out to a local pub called Escape that is known to host the Cricket World Cup on big-screen. An email chain, drivers, and and a rampage stop at the local Nike store for last-minute India team gear later, we arrived en masse at Escape in time to watch the boys in blue take to the pitch.

With an embarrassing loss to Bangladesh behind them, and up against Sri Lanka, it was a must-win situation in intro play. To advance to the Super-Eights, they had to defeat the Lankans. Wearing an Indian flag wrist band, armed with Kingfisher and dutch courage, and sporting the Indian jersey, we excitedly began our night of cricket. India was bowling first. Having held the Lankan team to around 180 runs after 42 overs, a reversion to pace bowlers coupled with aggressive batsmen left the target at a solid, but doable, 255. Having conceded more runs in the final 8 overs than in early powerplays, the last of the bowling was dubious, but didn't set the stage for impossible.

While the pub closed after the first inning, at the end of Indian bowling, we returned home to a couch and cokes for a bit of into-the-night cricketing that left us missing our SpiceJet flight to Jaipur (read post below). After a bit of duck hunting by the Lankan bowlers, Malinga and company, Sachin and other Indian stars had fallen. Indian dreams of an '83 repeat died with each wicket, and the swan song for Sachin was a duck, or getting bowled for a wicket after having scored no runs, a pitiful parallel to Zidane's football World Cup exit, albeit sans tete.

Well, and so you have the Indian World Cup story, as told from the frontlines of a Hyderabad pub. Saturday night was an local expat melange that ended with paparazzi and the girls making the 'Hyderabad Times' above the fold. Us lads weren't so lucky as to make the newspaper, but lucky enough to share the table.

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