Sunday, August 17, 2008

Summer or Revival, Resurgence, Revenge!!!

This past summer, a lot of sporting action rocked the earth... The actions were larger than life, the players were supernaatural and all-in-all, the summer became even hotter.

Revenge took place, first in Los Angeles, and that episode rightly ended in Boston, when the NBA "Invincibles" of the season defeted the LA Lakers in a manner which is undescriptive. Seeing is believing. Knocking out Lakers at the Staples Centre, coming back from a 23 point deficit can only be dreamt of... What Boston Celtics did was an exhibition of class, authority, experience, unity and style and won back, rather, snatched back the NBA title from their biggest rival after a gap of almost 2 decades.

Tennis... Talk about comebacks... Dinara Safina played like a never-say-quit war-horse in the French Open and defeated big names and compatriots en-route to the finals. Though she lost in the finals, she will be remembered for her games she won prior to it. Having come back from being a set down twice in the tournament to win the matches in comprehensive style, she gave the Russians another reason to cheer about. And she eventually turned out to be the factor who could cheer up her brother Marat Safin. And, he showed up with some tricks up his sleeve in the prestigeous Wimbledon. He defeated three seeded players on the trot to book a match with defending champion, Federer, to whom he lost. But, the way Safin was playing, he sent shivers down the spine of many prominent players, especially after defeating the Australian Open champion, Novac Djokovic. He added some Safinism to these plays too. It was interesting to watch him go for a challenge when the ball was "obviously" inside the court. But, the biggest one was yet to come in the tournament. It was Rafa who finally achieved what has been eluding him for atleast three years. He defeated Federer in an epic final, probably the best one in the Open era. He is now all set to take over the No. 1 spot from Federer, being the first one to do so in more than 4 years. his next target - clinching gold at his maiden Olympics in Beijing, this August.

Talking about Soccer, the Euro was provided the summer bonanza. Spain finally got their crown after a long last wait and many choking experiences. The best elements of the tournament were Turkey and Russia. While Russia, under the guidance of "magician" Guus Hiddink, kept a good pace in the tournament and made sure they made a good mark in the tournament by beating even sides of the calibre of Nederlands, Turkey made sure that the spectators stayed in their seats till the very end of the game. The Turks....aaaahhhh... You'll never know when they are gonna make their come back. You take at the 120th minute, Turks will equalise the next minute. Ast a Croatian how it feels to have experienced that. The Turks bounced back in 3 games after trailing for most of the duration in two of those, and conceded a late, errr, very late goal in the third. All in all, they were very impressive and created a great impression. Now, every club will be vying fro Russians and Turks.

Now, coming to cricket. The long summer in England saw the Kiwis first lose the test series to a tough and building English side. the kiwi test side had been shaky ever since the English tour of the Kiwis. But, then, the Kiwis gave a great reply in the ODI series. Having lost the first one in a very pathetic manner, they came back well to emerge winner in all the other games (one was rain-affected, though that match all seemed to be heading NZ's way). Then came the South Africans and had a tough first test, where they had to stay put at the wicket day and night to save the test after they were made to follow on. The English test team lost all the form it had over the past 5 or 6 test and lost 2 test in a row to the resurgent Proteas before pulling one back for pide. SA hence came back well into the Basil D'Oliviera trophy after the horrible first 3 days of 1st test to clinch the title, winning the series 2-1.

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