WC 2003 - ~~When Sachin~~s wicket fell my world came to an end~~

Published: Friday, February 28, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi: India went into mourning on Sunday after its beating at the hands of Australia in a lop-sided cricket World Cup final in South Africa.The cricket-mad country had ground to a standstill as Saurav Ganguly's men took the field only to see them slump to a comprehensive defeat by the all-conquering Australians."I think our expectations were out of proportion," said a fan in the Indian capital. "I think it was the most foolish decision not to bat first. The moment they decided to field, I knew we were finished."Clubs, five-star hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and even some film theatres were jam packed on Sunday with fans hoping for a victory that looked less and less likely as Australia, batting first, hammered 359 for two.Confidence levels dipped as the Aussies dumped six after six over the Johannesburg ropes. And when Indian batting star Sachin Tendulkar was caught out in the first over, the dream was over. India eventually made 234 all out."When Sachin's wicket fell, it was like my world had come to an end," said a viewer in one New Delhi's prestigious clubs. "I'm sure the Indian team also felt the same."Security was stepped up outside Ganguly's home in the eastern city of Kolkata. Ganguly's house and that of team-mate Mohammed Kaif were stoned by mobs after India was beaten by Australia early in the tournament.But Ganguly's home was quiet after the game. His wife, Dona, who spoke with reporters on the eve of the final, refused to take any calls. "We expected a lot as India did better in the later stage. Luck did not favour India on Sunday. Certainly, our family is shocked," said Snehahis Ganguly, the Indian skipper's elder brother and a former cricketer.As the last wicket fell, millions of cricket fans in various Indian cities, who had planned victory rallies if India had won, abandoned their plans and remained indoors.Posters of the Indian players, decorated earlier with flowers and miniature lamps in clubs and big buildings, were torn and Indian flags were taken down.Cricket fan Manas Mukherjee shaved his head in an act of mourning. "I dreamt of India's win and prayed to the (Hindu) goddess Kali every day. I had my hair cut to mourn India's defeat," he said.But the tournament was not a complete disaster for India. "In any case half the cup was won when we beat Pakistan!" said a Mumbai fan.Copyright AFP 2001

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