Jagadeesan has always been the team’s go-to man no matter where he plays. In the last few matches, things were different, blame his form. It was so bad that the usual dispatch deliveries became dismissals. It felt like he was competing with himself to see if he can hit low with every single game.
9, 9, 6, 14, 21 were his scores right before the final. The main reason why they weren’t the first team to qualify for the final this time and had to take the long run.
Still, one can never write him off. Some stars take time to get into the groove while for some, it is just one shot. In his last five innings, he did have a few moments. None of them seemed confident. He was playing for his survival rather than winning or simply, scoring.
Today, it was different. Today, he fought the horrors early. A beautiful drive off Saravana Kumar’s first over opened the curtains, but the very next ball everything slipped. An attempt for a quick single. He almost threw his wicket away. Luckily for him, the direct hit attempt didn’t hit the stumps, and Sunil Sam made a mess of it as Super Gillies stole five runs in the overthrow.
Still a nervous camp, nobody knew what was in stores for the next few deliveries. When Jagadeesan was still searching for the perfect plan, skipper Kaushik Gandhi gave him a few minutes to breathe. Jagadeesan made full use of it. He then returned.
The second ball of the second over of Saravana Kumar showed Jagadeesan the exact script for the show. A well outside off delivery, right under the throat of the bat helped Jagadeesan to free his arms. A beautiful cover drive not only broke the shackles but also lifted the curse on Jagadeesan, the curse that existed only in his head. He was a free man now, once again.
Before the whispers of his failures turn into noise, Jagadeesan showed a glimpse of return when he took on Saravana Kumar again, this time to launch one over the midwicket for a boundary.
The shot was not only a beauty but also gave Jagadeesan, a bit of satisfaction, something that has been missing in his game for a while. Minutes later, he played the same shot against Poiyamozhi for a boundary.
When things began to shape up, Jagadeesan went back to the hell hole once again. An indecisive check shot this time. As he pushed the ball to the extra cover, the ball traveled in slow motion to Adnan Khan. Chepauk went super calm that near ones could’ve heard the heartbeat of Jagadeesan. And Adnan Khan couldn’t get hold of it.
A few seconds of horror brought Jagadeesan to his senses. He didn’t even try to hit the ball but touched it for the next couple of overs. Of course, Kaushik Gandhi’s wicket had to do something with it too. As singles kept coming, the run-rate began to crawl down.
A couple of deliveries into Mathivanan’s over, Jagadeesan knew he got to do something. He walked down, smashed the ball to the long-on for a boundary. It was supposed to bring him relief, but it didn’t blame the fall of Radhakrishnan.
Once again, Jagadeesan had to wrap his wings, and singles followed. A nice touch for a single to the deep backward point got him to his fifty. His 37th delivery. As he finished his run, he was visibly happy. He lifted his bat to the dressing room but quickly got it down as he knew that his job had just begun. While he wanted this fifty, his team needed more.
In between mishits and miscues, Jagadeesan kept the scoreboard ticking with singles and twos. A couple of boundaries during Saravana Kumar’s over got him to 70s.
Now, the first aim was to take the team over 150. He didn’t wait around this time. When he smashed a wider full toss for a single, Poiyamozhi would’ve guessed what was coming. And he guessed it right.
Jagadeesan walked across, swung his bat for a six-over long-on. A flat one but was much-needed. As Jagadeesan juggled once again Poiyamozhi went a bit full. Jagadeesan was ready for it, and the power in the shot got it over the long-on boundary once again.
Now, Poiyamozhi is a better bowler than this. He dropped it a bit short this time. The ball didn’t come on to the bat as Jagadeesan would’ve wanted but unfortunately, he had already committed to the shot. The ball fell into the hands of Mathivannan at long-on.
There was anger. There was frustration. He swung his bat in the air, shouted his heart out, and exchanged a word with Poiyamozhi. 90 from 58, the score read.
Though Jagadeesan couldn’t get to the 100-mark, he did better than what the team could’ve asked for. On a spongy pitch that got slower with time, Jagadeesan produced a show that would stay with him longer. Personally, it was not only about breaking the shackles.
For the past couple of years, he had to witness someone else lift the trophy. He was on the wrong side of the result more than once. This knock must heal a lot of pain and should give him the courage to move on.