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India Beats Pakistan in an awesome match!

March 30, 2011

Yes, it has actually happened. India is in the Final of the World Cup after beating Pakistan in a really scrappy semi-final. Possibly one of the most watched sporting events in the history of the world. No exaggeration. Even if half of India watched it (which is a low estimate) and a lot of Pakistan PLUS the rest of the cricketing world and the Indian diaspora you've got a billion people worldwide. Or close.

All work in Mumbai (and the rest of India) was halted as shops, offices, schools shut down by afternoon so people could watch the match that began at 2.30.

We shot in several locations today: the clinic of a dentist where a dozen dentists and technicians watched the match in a conference room. Some dentists even worked on patients with the match playing on a TV that both dentist and patient could watch; a giant South Bombay chawl (low income housing) where a thousand residents watched the entire match on a giant LED screen exploding firecrackers every time something good happened for India; and shops on the street that had crowds gathered around a single TV. 

The euphoria and excitement was amazing. A lot of people said that playing Pakistan in the semi-final was like a final in itself. More important than winning the World Cup is beating Pakistan in a World Cup match. Tensions were high as India looked like they were faltering. The Indian innings started off great but slowed down as batsmen kept getting out at regular intervals. They set a total of 260 in 50 overs, which was considered average but defendable by most of the fans we spoke to. Pakistan started their innings well and it looked like they would get to 261 with ease. But then India's bowlers stepped up in a rare awesome performance of discipline and skill. They slowed down the Pakistani batsmen and starting to take wickets regularly.

With every Pakistani wicket, the chawl residents celebrated more and more furiously, children dancing to Indian beats spun by a DJ. Firecrackers exploding. We caught it all. It was fun and intense. When it all ended, we wen tout on the streets to capture a once-in-a-lifetime spontaneous celebration. People in cars and motorbikes waving flags, honking, dancing, chanting "India....India!" It was epic. I'm too tired to write more or to make sense right now. We've been shooting for 14 hours or something. Time to sleep. Pictures to come. 

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