14 Jun 2017 17:01 IST

Why hard fought battles in sport make for compelling viewing

The week gone by has seen many see-saw battles in different sports

There’s something about a fiercely competitive game, it doesn't matter which sport it is. The ebb and flow of a game, the triumph of the spirit over the body, a relentless do-or-die spirit, all that makes for a great viewing for a spectator.

Recent news of Saina Nehwal beating the tough Thai player Ratchanok Intanon, at the Indonesian Open, in three fiercely-fought games, in a match which lasted 57 minutes, is one for the books. This is especially so because Saina is clawing her way back from injury and has fallen off the top ten. Saina was not expected to win against the world number 8, but her sheer resilience and desire to win resulted in a victory so comprehensive that she even won the last game 21-12.

The week gone by has seen many see-saw battles in different sports. There’s the ongoing Champions Trophy, which has has some thrilling matches on display. While one is, obviously, thrilled that India won its matches against Pakistan and South Africa, the steamrollering of both the teams made it all look so one-sided, as if you just drank flat beer. In contrast, the India-Sri Lanka match made for more compelling viewing, even though India ultimately lost the game. Sri Lanka was the underdog; The Hindu even had a headline on the day of the game: ‘India has nothing to fear against Lanka’, and for the brave Lankans to take the battle to the Indian camp in one of the highest run chases in the championships was thrilling stuff. One felt a similar adrenalin flow during the IPL final in which Mumbai scrambled to win by one measly run against Pune Supergiants.

You had to feel for Stan Wawrinka. After an epic battle with Andy Murray, to come up against a resurgent and raging Rafael Nadal and get thrashed in straight sets took the spark out of the finals of a tennis Major.

Sport is funny that way. While one can appreciate the talent and hard work of a winning team overwhelming an opponent, as a spectator it doesn’t make for compelling viewing when the opposition gets squashed. Like the all-conquering Australian cricket team under Steve Waugh, they bullied and smashed all teams in sight, you held them in awe, but watching them play was no fun.