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India vs Pakistan Final: While the National Passion surrenders, National Sport saves India from embarrassment

The Financial Express logo The Financial Express 19-06-2017 Manas Tiwari
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India vs Pakistan Final Champions Trophy 2017: Two games, two teams with 11 men, both called men in blue, one game that lasted for 8 hours while other for just 60 minutes, one is India's National Sport while other is its National Passion and on Sunday, the fans had a chance to witness both. June 18 was special for the sports lovers as India played Pakistan in both hockey as well as cricket. Hockey, India's national sport and once its pride and joy in which the nation went on to win numerous accolades and Cricket, a sport Indians are madly passionate about.

While in cricket Virat Kohli and men suffered an embarrassing loss at the hands of Pakistan at the Kennington Oval, the hockey team defeated Pakistan 7-1 in a one-sided match at the Hockey World League Semi-Final just some 10 miles from that spot. Unfortunately, till Sunday morning, half of the country wasn't even aware that there is a hockey match between India and Pakistan on Sunday evening but as the wickets kept tumbling ion London, more and more TV sets started to switch channels.

At the Oval, asked to bat first, Pakistan went on to score 338 runs for the loss of four wickets in their 50 overs. Even though the Indian bowlers were taking some serious beating, fans were optimistic of a comeback. There was belief that a Virat Kohli or MS Dhoni might save their day. But, when the run chase started the Indian batting-line up started to fall like a house of cards.

When Rohit departed, there was belief that Kohli might come to rescue. When he got out, we hoped for a vintage Yuvraj Singh. As the southpaw failed, we thought this might be Mahendra Singh Dhoni's night but when even that didn't work out, we took positivity from each six that came from Hardik Pandya's bat.

However, when he got run-out, things blurred completely for the fans. For a moment, the Earth stood still for India. There was embarrassment, shame and no place to hide. Right then, the news of hockey team thrashing the Pak side broke and the smiles were back. Over the years, the country has been ignorant of the hockey world but today was a different evening. With each goal we were happier, prouder and more satisfied. By the time the game ended, the fans knew all is not lost.

Harmanpreet Singh, Talwinder Singh and Akashdeep Singh who were relatively unknown names a few hours back scored two goals and became national heroes. Now, India will play Netherlands in their fourth Pool B match on June 20 and hopefully will get more support this time.

As far as today is concerned, on a day, when the National Passion surrendered, National Sport saved India from embarrassment.

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