23rd November, 2014. It was a sunday and I was checking all the cricket channels if any interesting match is going on or not. I stopped by star sports to watch Karnataka vs Bengal game. It was a semi-final of Vijay Hazare trophy. I saw on scoreboard that it was in Ahmedabad. I was following Vijay Hazare trophy for Yuvraj Singh to see that whether he has hit a 100 or not as I want him back in Indian side for World Cup in 2015. So I knew that Punjab was also in the semi-final and Yuvi has hit 50 in quater-final. I was watching Karnataka vs Bengal game and suddenly it went off and not only star sports but every sports channel went off. Only god knows when these GTPL people will stop surprising us in a such weird manner and why do they stop broadcasting sports channels only.
After an hour or so I checked scores on cricinfo and I found out that both of the matches were going on at Sardar Patel Stadium at parallel grounds. Moreover Odhisa’s innings was over and Punjab’s batting had already started. I wanted to see Yuvraj’s batting live. In next half an hour I was off to stadium with my brother. By the time I reached stadium Yuvraj Singh had just come out to bat. Target was 239 so it wasn’t too big and when he came out to bat only 60 odd runs were required for Punjab to win. All Yuvraj needed to do was to take team home comfortably being not out in the end. He did that with Taruwar Kohli. Yuvi’s shots were treat to watch specially that last six with the help of which he took his team in the final.
As this match was over we went to watch other semi-final in ground A (main ground) of Motera stadium. Karnataka scored 268 and it was low score considering the pitch and star studded batting line-up of Karnataka. Bengal in reply began well with Goswami and Tiwary but lost their way after Tiwary’s wicket. Everybody started throwing their wickets away. When I reached there only 9 overs were remaining and Bengal was struggling at that point of time. The match went down to the wire it went till the last over. 10 runs were required in the last over with only one wicket in hand and Bengal lost it. So it was Karnataka vs Punjab in the final. After that match was over, we came out of ground A and Punjab team was about leave the stadium. So me and my brother stood in front of their bus and were giving wishes for the final to all the players before getting into the bus. Yuvraj came out with 5 bouncers around him so I was unable to shake hands with him but I wished him verbally and he acknowledged. One of the person pulled his bag from behind despite of bouncers. He was pushed by the bouncers. I don’t know why people do that. He sat in the bus and started giving autographs so we left. I wished to sit and talk with him about the game for atleast half an hour but it didn’t happened so we left.
The final was on tuesday and I thought it would be in some other city as both the semi-finals were here. I really wanted Yuvraj to make it count. I was in office at Anand and I was going to follow it on cricinfo. I opened cricinfo at 11:30 a.m to check the score but I came to know that match will start at 2:30 p.m. and it is in Ahmedabad only. I was not going to miss it at all. I decided to leave office early to reach the stadium for second innings. I was constantly following the game till I left the office. Uthappa and Agarwal tormented Punjab bowlers. I left the office 15 minutes before and at that time the score was around 260 in 40 overs with Pandey and Nair adding fuel to the fire ignited by Uthappa and Agarwal. I got the train at 4:30 p.m. and in the way I was thinking that If Karnataka is playing like this then I am sure that it is going to be a run fest in Ahmedabad. I was expecting same from Punjab boys. I wanted to reach the stadium by 6:30 p.m. but train caused 15 minutes delay.
I reached stadium at 6:45 and as I reached there Manan Vohra got out. Yes. Second innings was started by that time and target to the Punjab team was 360. And Yuvraj was out padded up and sat in the dug out. I was sitting exactly behind him. People were going mad as he came out. After the wicket of Vohra, Mandeep and Amitoze carried on really well. They were going according to the asking rate. Then there was a mix-up and Amitoze got out. Here was the entry of the King of sixers in the middle and it was great opportunity for him to make it count and take his team to the victory. Yuvraj started in the best possible manner. He was finding the middle from the very first ball he faced. All those typical cover drives, pull shots and shots towards mid-wicket were just coming right from his bat. It was treat to watch. It looked like he was set for big score when he reached the mark of 23 runs. Then Aravind bowled him a short ball and again it found the meat of the bat but only found Agarwal in the deep. The crowd went silent. How that kind of shot can find a fielder in the deep? It was all over everybody started leaving after Yuvraj got out and the team too just follwed him back to pavilion. I left the stadium after Bhajji got out and then Punjab bundled for 203. It was my first time that I was watching a live match under lights and as a player it is like a fantasy to play under lights. It was an amazing experience.