Ashish Nehra, one of the most honest servants of Indian cricket, donned the blue jersey for the one last time. India played New Zealand in the first of 3 T20Is at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi, the home ground of Nehra.
Indian batsmen gave the side the perfect platform by amassing a massive 202 on the board after 20 overs with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma scoring 80 runs each. Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni provided the perfect finishing touch to set up the big target.
Ashish Nehra prepared himself to bowl the first over and the veteran pacer began well and gave away just 5 runs from the over. In his next over, he almost got a wicket but Hardik Pandya put down a tough catch. He bowled another in the middle overs to pause with figures of 23/0 from 3 overs.
While the other Indian bowlers kept picking up wickets, the Kiwis were blown away from the game. The victory for them kept going away as the inevitable was to happen. With one over in the bag, Nehra requested Virat Kohli to bowl the last over of the innings.
With 61 runs to defend from the last over, the stage was set for the 38-year-old to finish without any worries. With a shorter run-up, he bowled all 6 deliveries and emotions ran through each of them. The crowd got involved as the chants of ‘Nehra Nehra’ lit up the stadium.
As he bowled the last ball of his career, every player walked up to congratulate him. A career spanning 19 years had come to a halt. An Indian victory by 53 runs was the perfect gift he would have hoped for.
Ashish Nehra, along with the teammates, went for a lap of honor around the ground to thank the fans. Kohli and Dhawan then lifted him on the shoulders to give him the fitting farewell. And that’s when we saw the last of Ashish Nehra in Indian colors.
Wishes poured in on Twitter for the veteran
— ONE FOR ALL (@mohsinstats) November 1, 2017
— Dia Mirza (@deespeak) November 1, 2017
18 years at the intl level as a bowler is pretty special. Always backed his own ability – rarely out of control. #NehraJi
— Isa Guha (@isaguha) November 1, 2017
— TOI Sports (@toisports) November 1, 2017
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) November 1, 2017
— Boman Irani (@bomanirani) November 1, 2017
— Kartik Murali (@kartikmurali) November 1, 2017