Cricket fans watch the ICC Cricket World Cup final match between India and Sri Lanka, on a big screen inside a shopping mall in Kolkata.
During the tension filled moments of the cricket World Cup final, SMSes alleging the India-Sri Lanka match was fixed gave people the blues. Fans started despairing when some of the claims in the text actually came true!
An SMS that started doing the rounds from Saturday morning read: "SL (Sri Lanka) will bat first. SL will make 270-273 runs. Sehwag will be out in first over (he has already been paid Rs.23 crore in UBS-Swiss bank). Sachin will be 95-98 out. SL will win by just 1 run, for which Rs.251 crore paid to India."
Most dismissed the SMS as a hoax. But Sri Lanka did bat first and did make 274 runs.
"I never gave it a serious thought, but some of the things were spot on," Atreya Thapliyal, a professional who saw the match with his friends said.
Then came the bummer.
Virender Sehwag got out in the second ball of the Indian innings to a beauty from Lasith Malinga.
And doubts started creeping in.
"I was watching the match with my friends at the DLF city club in Gurgaon. There were about 150 people there. Suddenly the mood changed after Sehwag fell. People started discussing the SMS and when Tendulkar got out, people actually started leaving. At least 30-40 people must have left," Navdeep Bajwa, an airline pilot partying with his friends told IANS.
Akshit Sidhu, a restaurant owner in Gurgaon, said: "It was crazy. After Tendulkar got out, it seemed the match was slipping. My customers were feeling low, adding to that was a flurry of SMSes. I got one saying that 'India will lose quick two wickets. And youngsters will help India win'."
"How was it possible? I saw the SMS and didn't believe a word, but then when we lost Sehwag and Tendulkar, my heart just sank," said Ranjana Ghosh.
But cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. Resilient knocks by Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli and skipper M.S. Dhoni saw India through. And after a fabulous win, all is forgotten.
"Fixed or no fix. We won the match. We are the champions," Bajwa said.