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Goodnews Wrapped Around Cricket Magic Moments

When Raina Let The Cat Out Of The Bag….

Duke Jeyaraj’s poem on the climax of the India-Australia World Cup Quarter Final in Ahmedabad, 24 March 2011 in which Suresh Raina was a hero along with Yuvraj Singh

When Captain Dhoni was out, India’s semi-final entering hopes was staring down the mat,


India still needed 74 runs to get off 75 balls, when the steel-nerved Suresh Raina walked out to bat,


Chewing their nails, at the edge of their seats, the Indian spectators, with unbearable tension sat,


‘Would Raina prove to be a better choice than the left-out-from-the-XI Pathan?’ – this was the topic of every cricket chat,

As Yuvraj and Raina batted sensibly rotating the strike, hitting the odd boundary, the asking rate never got unmanagably fat,


When Raina hoisted the bleeding Bret Lee for an over-the-head six, from Yuvraj, he got a big hug and an approving pat,

As Yuvraj cover-drove Lee and sank on his knees to celebrate, every Indian joined him, from a Jain to a Jat,


At that point in time, first innings centurion Ricky Ponting, the two-time World Cup winning Aussie captain, wished he could hide in a hole like a rat!

Speaking to a commentator after the game, Raina, released from his bag, the proverbial ‘cat’,


“It was because of God’s grace,” he could do what he did, he said, in humility, adjusting his India hat,

Did you know that God’s grace was supremely shown, when upon sinless Jesus’ face, evil men spat?

He shed his blood to wash away your sin when he hung on that Cross – my friend have you ever heard that? When you repent from sin, and join Jesus, you’ll discover your life become full of meaning and never becomes flat!

(This poem of Duke Jeyaraj was published in Duke Jeyaraj’s 2012 book, The Goodnews for the Google Generation. This book is currently out of print. Duke is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader-supported Indian ministry to presentday people. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. Watch Duke’s message videos at http://www.Youtube.com/VisitDuke).

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Cricket-Wrapped-Bible-Devotions Goodnews Wrapped Around Cricket Magic Moments

Inches Short

Duke Jeyaraj writes about Dhoni’s dismissal in the India-New Zealand World Cup Semifinal when India needed 25 off 10 and brings out a spiritual lesson from it!

“Banged in short and wide outside off, Dhoni leaps off his feet, goes airborne and scythes a six over backward point. Bam. The hands are still fast. Can the great finisher do it once again?” That was the commentary typed by the ESPN Cricinfo team for ball number 49.1 bowled by Lockie Ferguson in the World Cup Semifinal 2019 on 10 July 2019 at Manchester, England. When M. S. Dhoni sent the first ball of the 49th Over over the off-side field for a six, the kite of Indian hopes soared. Some of us got goosebumps! We got off our sofas and did fist pumps! The next ball was a dot ball. The third ball, as Dhoni tried to steal a couple by awkwardly directing a rising ball to the legside, he was caught inches short by a Martin Guptill’s direct hit! As the replays – the most heart-stopping replays in modern live Cricket broadcast history – confirmed India’s worst fears that Dhoni was run-out, tears were running down from the die-hard cricket fan’s cheeks. Rohit Sharma, who had carried India to the semifinal stage with five fabulous centuries in the group state, was also on the verge of tears. Dhoni waked back after scoring 50 off 72 balls (his second straight fifty in the World Cup Semifinal stage).

What if, Dhoni had not got run out at that stage? India would have needed 23 runs off 9 balls. The Dhoni we have known would have hit a six off one of next two balls. With 1 ball to go, in that over, the equation then would have been this: 17 off 7. Dhoni, predictably, would have taken a single, to retain strike for the last over. That would have meant, that India would have needed 16 runs off the last over of the World Cup Semifinals 2019 to make it to the Finals with the World’s best finisher on strike! In Chennai Super Kings must-win game versus Kings XI Punjab, Dhoni was batting in the final over of the match in IPL of 2010 with the equation being exactly the same: 16 off 6! And Dhoni finished that match with two balls to spare! The over bowled by Irfan Pathan went this way: 4, 2, 6, 6. He could have possibly done the same, in the World Cup Semifinals 2019, too! Who knows? What a finish, it would have been!

Are you ‘inches short’ of your salvation? Are you ‘inches short’ of the Kingdom of God? There was a religion scholar was inches short of the Kingdom of God – Jesus pointed out in the Gospels (Mark 12:34). He heard the narration of what was the greatest commandment from the mouth of Jesus himself! And Jesus said that he was not far from the Kingdom of God! He was inches close to the Kingdom, but not in the Kingdom! Why? Even following the greatest command will not give you salvation or give you entry into the Kingdom of God! Placing your trust in Jesus with a repentant heart will give you salvation, – this is what the Bible teaches (Luke 13:1-5; Acts 16:31). And having been saved, out of gratitude we follow the moral laws of God, the summary of which is to love God and love people as New Testament believers!

Are you religious? Your religious faith cannot save you! Religion can point to the fact that we need need salvation! But Religion itself cannot save us! Apostle Paul pointed this out in his speech in Athens (Acts 17:22, The Bible). He also pointed that people of all religions need to repent and come to Jesus, if they want to escape hell punishment on the final day of judgment in the same speech he gave in Athens, inspired by the Holy Spirit (Acts 17:30-31, The Bible). You are near salvation, when you are religious! Religious is an expression of your desperateness for God and Salvation! But religion itself cannot save you! You need a relationship with Jesus (John 17:3; Gen. 4:1)! Then you can have eternal life! Then you can enter God’s Kingdom! Then you can be saved! So come to Jesus, now!

(Read more presentations like this by Duke at http://www.PurposeSpot.blogspot.com. Duke Jeyaraj is founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader-supported Indian ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org).

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Goodnews Wrapped Around Cricket Magic Moments

Dhoni in Dharamshala Vs Jesus in Golgotha

Duke Jeyaraj on the last over between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Kings XI Punjab in Dharamshala, 18 April 2010, easily the most exciting game in IPL-111, and perhaps one of the most iconic final overs ever in IPL History as one hits the rewind button on 12 years of IPL (as on April 2020).

They were just an over away from possible elimination – despite having quality players to flaunt,

16 runs in the last over – that’s what Chennai Super Kings needed stay in the hunt,

Irfan Pathan ran into bowl with determination, Dhoni’s efforts to get those runs, to blunt,

The onlookers couldn’t move – be it a person young or old, or be it an uncle or an aunt,

After Dhoni crashed the first ball for four – 12 required off 5 balls was the new count,

When the next ball he miscued for a brace, Chennai’s  semi-final chances none could totally discount,

The next two balls Dhoni smacked over the fence – Irfan Pathan’s ego to bruise and affront!

The super cool Skipper then celebrated with a rare, never-seen-before upper cut stunt!

It was as if he knew that Chennai would go on to win the IPL 3, up-front!

“Dhoni scores 28 out of 29 runs required in the last 2 overs” – that’s what the papers reported in big font!

What Dhoni did atop that stadium in 5000-feet high Dharamshala’s mount,

Reminded me of Jesus who willingly took cuts on his body atop mount Golgotha, to open a fount,

A fount filled with sinless, precious blood that would take away sin of all, who into it, would in repentance and faith, even today, dismount!

(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj, the author of this poem, is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This is a reader-supported ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. WhatsApp Duke at +91-8886040605).