By Sudharsan Ramarao
Adversity is the best teacher one can get in life. For it takes away all your luxury, pushes you away from your comfort zone, in to territories that you would have not gone otherwise. How one responds to adversity is what distinguishes the best from the rest.
As much as it is applicable in life, it is applicable in sports too. For sports is nothing but a mirror of life. Take for example the finest cricketing achievements over time, they have all come against the backdrop of adversity. Who can forget Brian Lara’s epic 153 in one of the greatest test match chases ever. Who can forget Sachin Tendulkar’s desert storm against the Aussies in Sharjah. And how can you possibly forget Rahul Dravid’s and VVS laxman’s marathon batting effort against the Aussies. In each of these instances, the teams were in dire straits. They had lost everything and there was nothing more to lose. And when you have nothing else to lose, Adversity gives you freedom. The freedom to express yourself and pull your team thru. Only the best can do it.
At 16 for 5, the Panthers were already in a deep hole. With their top order vanquished, Panthers were fighting adversity to restore some modicum of respect to their total and that’s when their batting mainstay Harsh Jogi stood up. In a gritty innings that will stand for ages, Harsh Jogi played through the innings, remaining not out while scoring a whopping 95 runs that included 16 astonishing boundaries and a huge six. Throughout his innings, Harsh displayed remarkable composure and was never in a hurry. He met the balls on merit and played proper cricketing strokes and kept ticking the scoreboard. When the singles were on offer, Harsh took them at will heaping confidence on his partners.
Thus, Sita Ram and Vishal Salunkhe together spent 50 balls in the middle doing nothing but giving company to their man Harsh. And Harsh obliged them by scoring runs in style. The talking point of his remarkable innings was how he took down a rampaging Shoaib Hassan in the batting power play in the 33rd over dispatching every single ball of the over to a boundary. By now Harsh Jogi had done the unthinkable by lifting the Panthers from a deep hole to a fighting total of 140. For the Highlanders, Ashok Adikoppula and Hariprasad Amanapu picked up 3 wickets and 2 wickets respectively.
Chasing 141 in 35 overs, The Highlanders lost opener Naveenan Thiagarajan of the very first ball. But that happened to be the only hiccup in a rather comfortable chase. Setting the tempo up front was Shoaib Hassan who continued his fine form hitting extravagant strokes one after the other. In a blistering innings that lasted for 37 balls, Shoaib Hassan scored 57 power packed runs. Particularly astonishing was his ability to loft balls for huge sixers at will. In all, he scored 3 boundaries and 5 sixers. At the other end was Hariprasad Amanapu, who returned to his usual ball striking form. In an up and down season so far, Hariprasad was guilty of getting out to soft dismissals. But not today as he took the attack to the opposition right from ball 1. His innings of 37 lasted for 27 balls and included 7 beautiful boundaries. The miracle man Harsh Jogi was the one who picked up Shoaib ‘s and Hariprasad ’s wicket. Highlanders romped home with 10 overs to spare.
For his all-round heroics that included a miraculous 95* and 2 wickets with the ball, Harsh Jogi was declared MOM.