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India and fans chase final dream

In the stands, they were stating the obvious: Jeetega bhai jeetega, India jeetega. On the ground, the Indian team was putting on a performance that suggested the same.

india Updated: Mar 21, 2003 02:08 IST

In the stands, they were stating the obvious: Jeetega bhai jeetega, India jeetega. On the ground, the Indian team was putting on a performance that suggested they had booked themselves seats on the crowded flights exiting South Africa after March 23. Just like the fans.

Eventually, they set Kenya 271 to win. It would have been second miracle of the day if Kenya had achieved the target. The first was the fact that there was a game at all.

Wednesday's rain had left the ground in the kind of conditions that Noah would sail in. 'Supersucker' and the groundstaff worked at giving everybody a match. If they can do that another two times, people would be writing to the Vatican. Come to think of it, people would be writing to the Vatican on behalf of Steve Tikolo had Kenya won.

Kenya aren't pushovers, but they aren't the ideal finalists either — yet. Everybody wants to see India beat Australia.

Everybody.

I run into Imran, the Pakistan supporter who was in the rowdy row in front when India met their arch-foes in Centurion.

He's got a pale blue shirt on. And a grudging acceptance that India is the best thing that happened to this tournament.

He waves and screams for India. He, like a few others in the ground, are recent converts: they witnessed Sachin Tendulkar preach cricket in the Centurion game.

It was an innings in which he crossed boundaries for much more than merely fours and sixes.

No one is shouting Ganpati Bappa Moria or Allah-ho-Akbar at this game. Maybe it's because this is Kenya. Maybe it's because, finally, people are watching the cricket for what it is: a game.

On to the Wanderers stadium then.

First Published: Mar 21, 2003 02:08 IST