Sanjay Manjrekar had a golden opportunity to tender his apology to Ravindra Jadeja after the all-rounder produced his best World Cup performance against New Zealand at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Coming out to bat with India reeling at 92 for 6, Jadeja took the battle to the opponents’ camp by scoring 77 runs off 59 balls. He led a revival with a 116-run partnership with MS Dhoni though couldn’t take his team home as India lost the knock-out by 18 runs.
There were four well-timed sixes in the southpaw’s knock. Jadeja had a fascinating start to ‘Day 2’ of the semi-final which started on Tuesday but spilt on to Wednesday because of rain intervention. He affected a brilliant run-out of Ross Taylor and took an impressive catch of Tom Latham in consecutive balls before playing the knock that will remain evergreen for a long time.
However, the task was too much for India’s middle and lower order after the top three – the cream of their batting order – was removed with just five runs on board. Earlier, New Zealand resumed from their overnight score of 211 for 5 in 46.1 overs to end up at 239 for 8 in 50 overs.
Just proved me wrong on all fronts
Manjrekar, who faced the flak from none other than Jadeja recently for calling him a “bits and pieces cricketer” said after the game: “By bits ‘n’ pieces, he’s ripped me apart today.” He said this when the anchor raised the topic of Jadeja’s all-round performance in a ground interview.
“By bits ‘n’ pieces of sheer brilliance, just proved me wrong on all fronts,” the 53-year-old said again. He said such a form from Jadeja has not been seen very often. “In the last 40 innings, the highest score has been around 33. Today, he was brilliant; economical with the ball, and that familiar celebration that we see more in Test matches.”
When Ian Smith, the former New Zealand cricketer-turned-commentator asked whether Jadeja’s trademark ‘wielding-the-sword’ celebration style was aimed at him, Manjrekar tendered yet another apology. “Forgive me, I wasn’t there,” he said jokingly. “I have to apologise. He was looking for me. Star of today, looking for me. I wasn’t there. I was in the lounge, eating my lunch,” he added.