New Delhi, Apr 22: Even at 39, Sourav Ganguly plays with an enthusiasm of a teenager. That was visible with the way he inspired Pune Warriors to an upset 20-run victory over Delhi Daredevils at the Feroz Shah Kotla in IPL 5 on Saturday night.
With his team under attack from Delhi's batsmen, Kevin Pietersen and captain Virender Sehwag, Ganguly seemed to have been lost for ideas. But he still had one weapon in his armoury. It was none other than himself, Dada as Bengal calls him with great love and affection.
In came Ganguly to the bowling crease as Pietersen and Sehwag were busy dispatching the deliveries into the stands and the home crowd entering into premature victory celebrations.
As Ganguly ran into bowl his first bowl of this edition of IPL, Pietersen shaped up in his aggressive style to give the same treatment to the Pune captain. But he failed.
Ganguly knocked Pietersen's offstump (ball kept a tad low) and sprinted like he was running in an Olympic 100-metre dash. He roared and roared raising his right arm, and also his hair rose. For few seconds, veteran Ganguly had turned the clock back. Witnessing this, Pakistan commentator Ramiz Raja joked after the match, “It was a hair-raising celebration.” Yes indeed.
“Getting KP (Pietersen) out was a big relief obviously, which was the reason behind that run,” Gaguly said after the match.
When Ganguly was India captain, he turned the team into an aggressive unit. Ganguly was often described as arrogant on the field. During the 2001 Test series against the Steve Waugh-led Australia, he kept the visiting captain waiting at the toss, trying to get under the skin of Waugh.
And, on the Lord's balcony, when India won the Natwest ODI series in 2002, he took off his jersey and waved. This shirtless celebration of his became famous. While he was criticised for this, the captain did not care.
That was 10 years ago. You expected Ganguly to be like that then. On Saturday night, there were few fans wondering whether Dada would repeat that shirtless act in Delhi. It did not happen.
After dismissing Pietersen, Ganguly added one more scalp, this time it was left-hander Irfan Pathan. But there were no such scenes of the Pietersen wicket.
His inspiration batting earlier, bowling and leadership skills won many hearts on Saturday night. It was the true Dadagiri in Delhi.