The bhangra and dandiya on the field complemented the wild hooting of car horns off it, up-and-down Edgbaston Road. And the common tri-coloured thread through it all was an overwhelming sentiment: Now, on to Lord?s.
Lord?s and a June 20 date with the World Cup final is still some way off but, having made the super-six (No. 2 from Group A) after being threatened with a first-round exit, Mohammed Azharuddin?s team is on song. Of course, out of the tournament are the hosts, England.
It?s a painful first for England as all six previous World Cups saw them go past the first-round, at least. This time, they tied with India and Zimbabwe on points (six each), but failed the cut owing to an inferior net run rate.
For England, it?s heartbreak time and dozens of post mortems can be expected. Yet, captain Alec Stewart insisted ?it wasn?t a time of crisis... It would all have been so different had South Africa beaten Zimbabwe?.
Stewart will continue, but today?s 63-run defeat certainly ended one innings ? it became David Lloyd?s last day as England coach. Lloyd didn?t get the send-off he would have liked, but few in sport can choose their manner of exit.
Azhar, for a change, was all smiles. ?I?m very proud of the boys,? he remarked emotionally. Perhaps for the first time in the tournament, he was actually given a huge ovation by fans.
Even more emotional was his father, Azizuddin, who has been around from Day-I of the World Cup (as is Azhar?s wife, Ayesha). ?Main jeetane ke liye aya hoon. Aap dekh lena, Cup India hi jayega,? he told The Telegraph.
To put it mildly, that was the ultimate in optimism after defeat at Zimbabwe?s hands in Leicester, 11 days ago. But the comeback-from-the-brink was set in motion at Bristol (vs Kenya), exactly a week ago. On Wednesday came that awesome win over Sri Lanka (Taunton).
Call it peaking at the right time ? as Man of the Match Sourav Ganguly preferred to put it ? or give it another label, but India have got their act right three matches on-the-trot. All saw crushing victories. Only, it will be life-or-death in the super-six, too.
As India don?t carry forward a single point, winning all three games will be imperative for a semi-final berth. Ironically Zimbabwe, third in Group A take to the next round with the maximum possible four points (wins against India and South Africa), with toppers South Africa taking just two (victory over India).
Match No. 1 is at The Oval against the Group B runners-up on June 4; the second vs toppers Pakistan at Old Trafford ? Wasim Akram?s second ?home? ground after the Gaddafi ? on June 8 and the third against Group B?s team No. 3 at Trent Bridge on June 12.
This morning, play began 30 minutes behind schedule, all due to ?senior? umpire Darrell Hair?s whim and not because of rain.
Apparently, till somebody sensible took him off his high horse, Hair?s position had been to wait till he was ?sure? there wouldn?t be any interruption! That was ridiculous, to say the least, and so incensed was Ian Botham, for one, that he caustically asked Sky colleagues: ?Is he God??
With conditions tailormade for movers of the ball and pressure to qualify more than merely choking, the odds were against England. It didn?t help that Javed Akhtar gave an atrocious leg-before verdict against the in-form Graham Thorpe.
Akhtar?s probably done his bit to defuse Indo-Pak tension, but many in the England camp will be happy to lynch him.
England still had batsmen to mount a challenge but the Anil Kumbles and Souravs not only got wickets, they dried the runs as well. ?We were too soft,? acknowledged Lloyd. The Indians, though, aren?t complaining.
Indeed, most happy should be Lalit Man Singh, India?s high commissioner to the UK, who hosts a reception at India House in London tomorrow evening. It?s bound to be a super hit.