While a crack team of players is important to win a match, if scenes from Sunday's Indian Premier League (IPL) final between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant are anything to go by, prayers and good wishes may be equally crucial.
Mumbai, who had been one of the most dominant teams in the IPL this season have always run into trouble when faced with their neighbours, Rising Pune Supergiant. Before the final last evening, the two teams had played five matches between them over two seasons of the IPL, and Pune had won four of them. What's more, Pune had won a hat-trick of matches against Mumbai in the tournament this season.
It was a struggle for Mumbai last evening too, as they were reduced to 79/7 in the 15th over. But Krunal Pandya put up a brave front and injected life into the Mumbai innings when it was wilting. Yet, in spite of his best efforts, Mumbai could manage only 129 in their 20 overs. The defence of their score fell on troubled waters, as Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith and Mahendra Singh Dhoni steered Pune with a lot of composure. Mumbai, however, came back strongly, as Jasprit Bumrah removed Dhoni at a crucial stage.
Pune needed 11 runs off the last over. The first ball went for a boundary, but Mitchell Johnson bounced back and got rid of Manoj Tiwary off the next ball. With Seven runs needed off four deliveries now, the television cameras searched out an elderly woman in the stands, praying with her eyes tightly closed and hands folded. It made for an endearing sight and won the hearts of the viewers. The match was on a knife-edge and could have gone either way. It was initially difficult to decipher whom the elderly woman was supporting, but that notwithstanding, many felt a rush of filial love.
Your mind went back to the time when India had their backs to the wall against Australia in a Titan Cup clash at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, way back in 1996. Despite the best efforts of captain Sachin Tendulkar, India were down in the dumps at 164/8, chasing 216 for victory. Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble then came together, and took India to an improbable win, playing shots that not many thought they could against an Aussie attack comprising the likes of Glenn McGrath, Damien Fleming, Brad Hogg and Jason Gillespie.
As Srinath and Kumble were fighting a valiant battle, the spotlight of the camera was regularly falling on two elderly women in the stands, who were going through a whole gamut of emotions as the match went down to the wire. The entire country lived those moments as emotions overflowed at the Chinnaswamy and India notched up an incredible victory.
As it turned out, the two women in the stand were Kumble's mother and grandmother. And as it turned out on Sunday evening in the IPL final, the elderly woman praying fervently as the IPL final entered the crunch last over, was Purnima Dalal, mother of Mumbai Indians co-owner Nita Ambani and that was confirmed by none other than actor Abhishek Bachchan.
Dalal left Twitterati amused and touched and there was an outpouring of tweets as her face was flashed on television screens. Let's look at a collection of tweets:
@BuzzFeedIndia That is Mrs. Ambani's mother. Popularly referred to as "nani". The lucky charm.
— Abhishek Bachchan (@juniorbachchan) May 22, 2017
— Sanyam Jain (@the_sanyamjain) May 21, 2017
— Astik (@bhaveshastik) May 21, 2017
Aunty Tomorrow is my exams pray for me too pic.twitter.com/6PX97X5HGO
— Professor GyaanCho™ (@theHasnainRaza) May 21, 2017
Praying aunty's prayers answered...MI are the champs of #IPL2017
— Pratik Singh (@pratiksingh197) May 21, 2017
— Saniya Sayyed (@MI_1045) May 21, 2017
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) May 22, 2017
Mumbai Indians won their third IPL title Sunday evening and that too by the slimmest of margins. They didn't just have eleven players giving their best out in the field but also a lucky charm in "Nani". As they say, never underestimate the power of prayer!
(Disclosure: Reliance Industries Ltd. is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd)
Updated Date: May 22, 2017 21:01 PM