A rest day for some, others went on a sightseeing tour, and as I had already visited all the places on their itinerary, I went to Sibtainabad Imambara mausoleum. This is the resting place of the last Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. We followed his life in Lucknow, so I decided to continue it at his resting place. On arrival I was greeted by three guys in well worn robes who look after it, and seem very proud of it, I was the only visitor there, they tried to explain the history and graves to me but it was a struggle to understand – the poor guys did their best. I read a bit about it yesterday saying it was given the go ahead for restoration, this was back in 2021, but that clearly didn’t happen, it’s a shame. Only very limited information in English surprisingly as every place of interest we have visited it has also been in English, for someone so interesting it’s a shame that it hasn’t been maintained or restored.
We left Kolkata for our last internal flight for the ICC World Cup Final in Ahmedabad and arrived quite late. Some went to the restaurant others to bed. The following day we were picked up from our hotel. I was dreading the final, with 44 of us and 135,000 in attendance I knew we would face a lot of challenges, which we did going to the stadium, getting in and out of the stadium. I think others expected it, some said the challenges were more fun than the game and ended up taking a Tuk Tuk!
Australia won the toss and to my amazement bowled, it was very brave of Cummins, they certainly had a game plan an executed it to a tee!
I always feel that playing 9 opponents in the group stages you are a bit in Easy Street. If you lose 3 or 4 you can still qualify. India went through the group unbeaten, but in the knockouts it’s a pressure game. If Williamson had survived another 6/10 overs it could well had been the old enemies in the final!
I think in every 5 supporters 4 were wearing the pale blue shirt of India!
Personally, after the way we have been treated in entering the grounds and the announcer who was just so impartial (NOT) and extremely annoying, I was rooting for the Aussies. Probably won’t go down too well at home, but in a roundabout way we could have relatives out there!
The conversations some of had went like this: I thought the Aussies bat deeper than India and we know from past Ashes experiences trying to knock over Smith & Labuschagne isn’t easy and the explosive firepower they have. They only need three to come of and it’s game over!
As their bowling was so good regularly taking wickets, they only needed two! After a tricky start 3 down for 47, the Indians smelling blood and right up for it! Enter Labuschagne… he and Travis Head hit a brilliant 137 built slowly, putting the bad ball away and knocking off singles in the gaps that were available. 90 minutes later the hyped-up India had no answer suddenly there were more tea pots on the outfield then the local cafe’. Australia cruised to victory, my opinion on the competition is that so many matches were won a long way out and only a handful sadly were exciting.
I believe the ICC should change the first power play. it doesn’t seem to generate the excitement it was brought in for. In all the matches in this year’s World Cup the teams seem to just play as if it’s a test match, trying to build a foundation. I wonder if they bring the inner circle in five feet would that tempt batters to go over the top and make the game more of a spectacle in the first ten overs?
So! The tour has finally reached an end. My beloved suitcase covered in location stickers finally hit the dust on the last domestic flight. I’ve loved meeting everyone and enjoyed their company. New friendships have been made in what was another great tour, seamless until yesterday due to the large numbers and a driver who didn’t know where he was going which led to a few enjoying that experience more than the final!
I’m sure some of the group I will see for a beer or two in London and hope to see others on future tours. I would also like to thank everyone for making the tour what it was – Excellent!
I have been away for 50 days without any form of beer or alcohol so am going to enjoy some real ale on my first evening home! Cheers everyone!
Thanks to Richard, Nick, Ed, Sara and the Trailblazers Team. It was tough going, filled with challenges but they provided a quality ground experience.
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