“And the Captain finishes off with a six!” the match ended against Australia and Amogh was celebrating the moment jumping off the couch and giving the air punches. The moment his father entered the hall, he became stiff, not knowing whether to continue the celebration or to quietly go into his room without uttering a word. His father looked at him sternly, set his spectacles and said, “India won. So what? Now go to your room and prepare for your test tomorrow.”
This felt really depressing to Amogh.
“India won against Australia and dad wants me to study math! What kind of an evil person is he?”
“Buddy, come home and take me out. Let’s play a few overs before the sunset”, he called one of his cricket buddies Nishant.
Nishant came over within 10 minutes and directly went into Amogh’s room. “Bro, why didn’t you tell me your dad was here? You know how much I’m scared of him!” Nishant said feeling a bit disappointed on finding Amogh’s father in the house. “It’s all right! Now all you have to do is tell him that you want me to explain Algebra to you and so you are taking me to your home”, Amogh said.
“You want me to lie to your dad! No way! He’s gonna break my….our bones if he finds out the truth!” Nishant felt really apprehensive about this but decided to do it anyway.
“Hello uncle”, Nishant entered the hall giving a fake smile to Amogh’s father. “Hello Nishant. How are you?” he replied staring at the news he was watching which was also about India’s celebration victory against Australia. “I’m fine, uncle. I just wanted to ask you if you could send Amogh with me”, Nishant uttered like a bird.
“What for?” Father was rather straight to the point.
“I want him to explain Algebra to me”, Nishant lied.
Nishant, Amogh, Rahul, Viraj and Sameer met up at their play ground in the colony. The moment they started their first over, a paper ball was thrown at Amogh who was ready in position to bat.
He was confused at the strange act and looked 360 degrees to find the kid(most probably) who would’ve done that and was a little disappointed to find no one to suspect. He put his bat down on the ground and opened the paper to find- “You’re a loser!” written on it.
Amogh called the non-striker Viraj and showed him the paper. “Who would’ve possibly done it?” Viraj was equally shocked. Looking at them both, the other players came running onto the pitch.
All of them were gazing around the playground hoping to see the one who threw the paper ball.
“You guys really are losers!” said a familiar, intimidating voice coming from behind them.
“You!” Amogh’s voice burst out when he found his elder cousin Raj standing opposite to him. “What do you want from me?” Amogh’s voice was rather harsh owing to his enmity with Raj since childhood.
“Why don’t we play a match against each other to know who’s better and who’s the loser”, Raj said with a wicked smile.
“Ah! You really think you need to play and prove yourself a loser! You’re already one!” Amogh rushed the words out not really caring for the fact that Raj was actually a very good player.
“Cowards always try to dodge the game, little boy!” Raj was in fact, trying his best to provoke.
“Get your players, Raj. We’ll see you in 30 minutes. Same place.” Saying this, Amogh turned to his friends and just nodded.
This nod was very well understood by the other four.
Within 30 minutes Amogh and Raj were ready with their teams in the same playground for the ten over match. Aishwarya, the girl neither on Raj’s side nor on Amogh’s side was chosen to be the umpire.
Raj won the toss and chose to bat.
Raj and Kiran started off as openers. Knowing that the two best players of the colony were playing against each other, little boys from the neighborhood occupied the ground behind the boundary to cheer for their favorite one.
Rahul was chosen to bowl for the first two overs and was highly disappointed by the runs given, a score of 38 with 3 sixes, 4 fours and 4 singles with equal contribution of both the batsmen.
It was Nishant’s turn to bowl. Having observed the batsmen’s game for two overs, he was a little confident that he could take one out.
The first ball gave them a single and so did the rest of the balls in the over. “Not bad!” Nishant thought. Nishant was now exhuasted and decided to dismiss one of them quickly. It was the first ball of the fourth over which was delivered towards Kiran’s leg side. He hit the ball and it went behind him, and he started running for a single but the keeper Amogh caught the ball and before he knew it, the stumps were down. The score was 44-1.
Nishant was smiling at his little victory. Amogh gave an appreciative nod to Nishant. Ashwin took Kiran’s place but he was not as good as Kiran. There were no runs taken in the next three balls. Finally it was Raj’s turn to strike and the remaining two balls were two fours. The score was 52-1.
Nishant went over to Viraj with an expression which was understood by the latter very easily. Viraj smiled at Nishant whispering “They are mine.” Being the best bowler of the team, Viraj got both Raj and Ashwin out in the next two overs and even the score was moved forward to 58-3.
The next bowlers and the batsmen were equally weak and the final score was 69-6.
Nishant and Rahul were the openers and surprisingly, Raj took them both down in the first two overs leaving behind a disappointing score of 26-2.
Amogh and Sameer entered the pitch. Amogh was on strike and scored most of the singles where Sameer was risking the balls hitting high into the air. As expected, Sameer was caught out when he tried for a six.
Amogh shook his head in despair. The score was 37-3.
Viraj entered the pitch but because he was a bowler, Amogh didn’t trust him for boundaries. He went over to Viraj and whispered his strategy which nobody knew. Raj’s team started wondering what Amogh was upto.
Then he walked casually towards the crease and stood in the position. As soon as the spinner Raj unnoticingly threw a full toss, Amogh took the opportunity and gave a hit. SIX!!!!! Amogh’s team and the audience supporting Amogh screamed in joy. The score was 43-3.
The next two overs went slow with just 2 fours and 3 singles and the score being 54-3. 15 runs to win from 2 overs.
Viraj was on strike and gave a single and Amogh took the place.
Unfortunately, the ball didn’t score any.
14 runs to win from 10 balls.
Ashwin, the fast bowler made a very good delivery but that one resulted in a four from Amogh who was now winking at Viraj who was nodding with a smile.
10 runs to win from 9 balls.
The next two balls went in vain and now Viraj was on strike.
10 runs to win from 7 balls.
Ashwin’s ball hit the stumps directly and there was a howl of despair among the audience. Amogh kept quiet and nodded at Viraj.
10 runs to win from 6 balls.
Charan, the youngest of the team entered the pitch fearing the consequences of getting bowled. Ashwin whispered the same strategy to Charan who nodded respectfully. The next ball scored a single by Charan and Amogh was back on strike.
9 runs to win from 5 balls.
The feirce bowling of Ashwin didn’t make a difference to Amogh. He sweeped the ball right into the boundary and the scream of joy was back in the air.
5 runs to win from 4 balls.
Ashwin was filled with rage seeing Amogh’s game. He gave a bouncer and BAM!!!
It hit Amogh’s head directly which made him dizzy for a second and then he fell on the ground. Amogh was taken aside and Nishant was doing all he could to make him open his eyes.
5 runs to win from 3 balls.
Charan was on strike and coudn’t make any use of the two balls. Raj was celebrating because he knew he won and nothing could be done in one ball…..until he heard the voice. “I’ll take the last ball”, Amogh said trying to get up. “And I’m not a loser”, he said trying to get back his stability.
He went over to the pitch, rose his bat and stood in position. Ashwin was more fierceful than before. He ran faster and the ball was delivered even faster. With instinct, Amogh gave the yorker a shot and closed his eyes .
The joy in the air screaming “SIX…..!!!!!” made him open his eyes to find Nishant and Viraj running towards him giving him a violent hug.
He went over to Raj who was frowning at his defeat. “You gave a tough competition.” he smiled raising a hand of friendship.
Raj in turn smiled back and clasped Amogh’s hand and said, “I’d remember this day forever”, and pulled him into a hug.