While Virat Kohli powered through Tendulkar’s Indian ODI run-scorer record, this Wednesday’s ODI between South Africa and India was not destined to be a team win. Playing at Boland Park, Paarl last night, South Africa played fiercely with a 296 run target that India failed to meet.

Cricket can be quite dramatic with the possibility of the match going either way even when we’re down to the last few overs. Often referred to as ‘death overs’, they usually refer to the last 10 overs of an ODI match and the last four overs of a T20 game.

Following the first one-day match between South Africa and India, a tweet from former Indian leg spinner and cricket commentator Laxman Sivaramakrishnan began to go viral:

Also known as ‘Siva’, the veteran bowler’s words were directed at the ongoing COVID crisis.

While it’s unclear if he suffered a personal tragedy that sensitized him to the language cricket commentators use, his words are a grim reminder of India’s rising death toll, with nearly half a million Indians succumbing to the virus.

Indian Cricket Fans React

Unsurprisingly, Siva’s message resulted in a barrage of tongue-in-cheek replies. Since the sport is nearly 300 years old, it has also amassed a lexicon of colorful and amusing phrases – everything from ‘fine leg’ to ‘bunny’ has a specific game-centric meaning.

A tiny handful of fans understood Siva’s point that ‘death’ can be triggering to people during a global pandemic:

Sunil here is right – many users had an absolute field day with the tweet, drawing joke comparisons to Harsha Bhogle and taking Siva’s point to illogical extremes:

While most fans haven’t taken the ‘death over’ conversation seriously, perhaps the Indian team should. New skipper KL Rahul said as much in a post-game statement:

“There’s so much to learn. We started off really well, we couldn’t get wickets in the middle. The middle-order couldn’t get going. We were on par for the first 20-25 overs of the game. I thought we would chase it down easily but SA bowled really well and got crucial wickets.

I didn’t bat after the 20th over, I don’t know if it changed drastically. Virat and Shikhar said that it was a good wicket to bat on, you just had to spend some time in the middle, unfortunately we couldn’t get the partnership going.”

With only two matches left to prove their worth, it’s all or nothing for the Boys in Blue.

(Image Sources: @LaxmanSivarama1)