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Cricket-Wrapped-Bible-Devotions

2nd Chance Giving Captain Dhoni, 2nd Chance Giving….

Duke Jeyaraj connects a Bible Truth with an event in AirTel Champions League T20 2010

It went to a spine-tingling Super Over finish, this particular T20 game. The Chennai Super Kings Vs Victoria Bushrangers AirTel Champions League Game 2010 went to the Super Over after the scores were level after 40 Overs of nerve-wracking, top-quality cricket on 18 September 2010. As Chennai Super Kings captain Dhoni looked around for volunteers to bowl it, Ravichandran Ashwin, the gangling Tamil Nadu off-spinner put up his hand. He volunteered. And Dhoni gave the ball to him choosing him over his Australian teammate Doug Bollinger. What followed was an absolute disaster. He was ‘looted’ for 23 runs. He forgot his clever bowling variations in those tense moments. He forgot his ‘carrom ball’ – the ball he bowled to get the wicket of Aaron Finch who scored 41 off 17 balls, earlier in the game. He bowled flat and full or flat and short. He was carted for three sixes by David Hussey. The last ball he bowled disappeared over long on for a huge six. In reply, Chennai could only 13 runs off the 6 balls they faced. Ashwin’s pathetic bowling had cost Chennai the match. As he collapsed in the ground in agony and disappointment Captain Dhoni had words of consolation for Ashwin. Not only that, he reposed his faith in Ashwin by giving him the opening over in Chennai Super Kings’ very next game, a do-or-die game against, the Warriors.

“Yes, you let me down in the Super Over in the last game. But I trust you. Here is your second chance,” so seemed to say captain Dhoni, by this baffling gesture. In the hindsight, it was a brilliant gesture. And Ashwin lived up to his captain’s faith by claiming three crucial wickets in his four overs giving away just 24 runs, one run more than what he given in one single over in the previous game! After he dismissed Ashwell Prince in the third over of the innings, He removed Mark Boucher and Justin Kreusch (who both had stitched-up a brave 44-run fortunes-reviving partnership) when the game hung in the balance in the 18th Over.  Chennai could defend a not-so-impressive 136 in a must-win T20 game because of his brainy bowling. What a comeback it was, for Ashwin! It was comeback motivated by a captain who gave a second chance.

In the Finals, the Warriors had gotten to a ‘violent’ start, thanks to Davy Jacobs stunning batting, first-up. But the man who turned the game on the head for Chennai was Ashwin, again. In the very first ball he bowled to Warriors’ captain and player-in-form Jacobs, he beat his reverse sweep attempt by bowling quickly through the air and trapping him right in the front for stumps. He was given out LBW. That reverse sweep reminded me of the similarly disastrous reverse sweep that Mike Gatting played when England was cruising to a win against Australia in the first ball that part time bowler Allan Border bowled in the World Cup ODI Final in Eden Gardens 1987, only to edge a simple catch to the wicket-keeper. England never recovered after that wicket. And Warriors too did not recover after that ruinous reverse sweep by Jacobs. Chennai were back in the game from then on. Ashwin just gave away a miserly 16 runs from his four Overs and finished the tourney with 13 wickets – the highest wickets tally. And what was more, he was awarded the Man of the Series! And to think he could have been dropped from the squad after the flopped Super Over show, but for Dhoni’s great faith in him!

How captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni dealt with Ashwin in Airtel Champions League T20 Series 2010 is how your Creator deals with you. Like how Dhoni gave to Ashwin a second chance, God wants gives you a second chance. He gave a second chance to Jonah, the reluctant, disobedient prophet. The Scripture records: Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” (Jonah 3:1-2 ESV). He had let down his God in a big way the first time. He went in the direction, opposite to the direction God wanted him to go. He disobeyed God deliberately. But God gave him a ‘second chance’ after the fish that swallowed him vomited him on the shore.

The God of the Bible can be called ‘the God of second chance.’ I am saying that because I have read how he dealt with Peter. He God gave a second chance to Peter. After Peter denied Jesus three times, He found him out and gave him a second chance by telling him, “Feed my sheep!” (John 21:15-19). Peter never looked back after that second chance he was offered. He firmed followed Christ till his death. He was crucified upside down as a martyr for Jesus, history tells us.

Paul, one of Jesus’ greatest followers, gave Mark, a second chance. Mark had deserted him during one of his missionary journeys. Paul refused to take him along in the next missionary journey he undertook after this event which greatly damaged Mark’s image. But at the end of his life, Paul, inspired by the Spirit, writes to Timothy requesting him to bring Mark, as he languished in prison staring at the face of death, because, as Paul put it,  “he is useful to me!” (2 Tim 4:11). Yes, he wanted to give Mark a second chance. Mark grabbed this second chance with both hands. God used him to give us the Gospel according to Mark – a swift-moving account of the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus. We wouldn’t have had that book, but for Paul’s God-inspired gesture to give Mark, a second chance.

Yes, God wants to give you a second chance. You may have failed Him the first time. You may have embarrassed Him when you got the initial opportunity. But He still wants to give you yet another opportunity. Yet another chance. Would you grab it from God, the way Ashwin grabbed it from captain Dhoni in Airtel Champions League T20 series 2010? Would you seize it, the way Peter seized it from Jesus or the way Mark seized it from Paul? Or would you let even your second chance slip by and count for nothing like Jonah eventually did, by getting angry with God for being merciful to Nineveh? The choice is yours.

[This article was written by Duke Jeyaraj in 2010 and is part of Duke’s 2012 book, The Goodnews for the Google Generation (now out of print). Duke is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. 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).