THE VICTORY PUNCH

by Allwin Bright

Snoopin’ Aces and Prowling Predators – There has always been a bitter rivalry between the two teams. The Aces were the underdogs and in the past they’ve had to go through a series humiliating defeats against the Predators. The Aces had never ever in the history of street cricket come so close to win a match against them. Winning this match was not just winning a street cricket match for the Aces. It was about their pride and right to vengeance. This street cricket match was so intense that even the working men and other adults from the neighborhood were watching it without a blink of an eye.

Aces had to bowl the last over of the match and the Predators just required 4 runs to win this match but with only two wickets left. Tension prevailed in the Snooping Aces camp. Skipper Senthil had a long team discussion. They unanimously decided to give the ball to their strike bowler Ben.

Ben, the right arm quickie, took guard and with his long run up, bowled the first delivery. It was express quick but it lacked direction and was called a wide. Selva standing as a wicket keeper had to dive at full stretch to collect the ball. He saved a certain boundary but, Selva was furious at Ben for bowling a wide at a very crucial moment in the game. He shouted at him “Bowl it straight you retard. We could have so easily lost this match…” Senthil fielding at mid-off walked up to Ben and told “Ben… For heaven’s sake, Please stay focused. We can’t lose this match from here. You’ll have to get it right.” He cheered the other guys “Come on Boys, Come on – This match is ours…” With the Predators requiring only 3 more runs to script yet another victory against the Aces. Ben bowled the next ball. It was a wide again. Now the whole team was agitated. The supporters of Predators were already celebrating. Senthil again walked up to Ben and he told him “Ben it’s not all over. Focus and trust your instincts. Believe that you can knock down the remaining two. You do that and you create a history in street cricket – People around the world will remember you for this incredible last over for years to come. “

Ben again took his run up. Senthil’s words were reverberating in his ears. He bowled the next ball. The batsman slashed it hard and it was straight to point. Vikram at point made no mistake. He took the catch. The Predators were stunned in silence. The Aces were over the moon. They knew that they were just a whisker away from victory. The team got into a huddle and they were into serious discussion devising out strategies to knock the opposition down. The Skipper cheered his boys. The whole team was charged up. It was the last wicket. Ben came charging in and bowled the next ball. It was defended by the batsman. Now, the whole team started encouraging Ben.”Bowling Ben…Bowling….Superb bowling…”    Supporters for the Aces were cheering Ben – “Ben… Ben…Ben…Champion Ben…” Ben was fired up and he came running with a greater intensity and bowled the next ball.  It was a fullish swinging delivery. The batsman plunged forward to defend, but the ball hit him low on his pad. HOWZAAAAT…. Ben’s appeal was vociferous and the whole team went up with him. It looked plumb in front. The umpire had a closer look and gave it a thought. Ultimately, he gave it ‘OUT’. Ben was elated. He was screaming of joy and he ferociously punched his fists into the air celebrating victory. The Aces had found a new hero in Ben. It was an unbelievable victory for the Aces. They had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. The whole team ran around and hugged Ben. He was living his dream. Ben’s father who was watching the match had tears in his eyes.

Ben heard a voice. It was his father’s voice. He shouted switching on the night lamp “Wake up you idiot…” Look at what you have done to me. Ben did not wake up. His father pinched him hard. Ben woke up feeling the pinch and looked at his father. He could see tears rolling down his father’s face in the dimly lit light. It was a dream and he had punched his father’s nose while he was dreaming.

Inspired by a true story…

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