What a marvelous end to what has been one of the most well fought out tournament in recent times.
Perhaps it was the format or the venues or the pitches, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 was as good a World Cup as you will see in a long time to come.
In the end of perhaps the greatest final ever played, it was disheartening that it had to end on a heat break for one side while it meant all the joy in the World for the other.
England defeated New Zealand not by runs or wicket but by virtue of hitting more boundaries than New Zealand after their scores ended on a tie both in their quota of 50 overs and also in the super over.
It was perhaps an apt finish to a World Cup which produced some intriguing battle between the bat and the ball.
World Cricket finally had a new champion and it was England who finally lifted the World Cup trophy for the first time since the inception of the tournament.
Here is a look at some of the top moments of the World Cup, moments which might not necessarily be reflected by the scorecards and statistics but which made the tournament so special and which will be etched in the hearts of the fans for a long time to come.
- The first over of the tournament
It was the first match of the coveted tournament- the hosts England were up against South Africa. England were set to bat first and cricket lovers across the world were excited and could hardly keep their cool. Everyone had their own predictions about who should bowl with the new ball but hardly anyone thought that the wise old leg spinner in Imran Tahir would not only get the new ball but dismiss England batsman Jonny Bairstow in the first over of the World Cup itself.
Tahir thus became the first spinner to bowl the first over of any edition of World Cup. The first in twelve editions of the tournament.
Tahir’s first over set the pace for a wonderful tournament ahead.
- Carlos Braithwaite’s innings
Perhaps Braithwaite’s innings was more about What If’s.What if Braithwaite who produced a game changing innings could have sent that ball 12 inches beyond. Looking back at it, it could have knocked out New Zealand and that would have meant Pakistan would have made it to the semi-finals.
Braithwaite’s brilliance which ended a few inches far from their win over New Zealand, was one that would be remembered as one of the finest to be played on the World Cup stage.
- Nuwan Pradeeplights up the tournament
It was the 47th over of the innings when Sri Lanka found themselves between beating the hosts England and losing out another match in their otherwise disappointing run in the competition.
Ben Stokes had almost single handedly reduced Sri Lanka’s chances of causing an upset going into this match.
In the first five balls of the 47th over too England had made nine runs and the match was slowly slipping away from Sri Lanka. However, he last ball was nicked by Mark Wood who was given the strike by Ben Stokes to face just the last ball of the over. As soon KusalPerera completed the catch, Sri Lanka got a day worth remembering from their tournament campaign.
Sri Lanka’s win ensured that the tournament is saved from may dead rubber matches and every game since then had a context and had something at stake.
Nuwan Pradeep’s delivery lightened up the tournament.
- Mitchell Starc’s perfect Yorker
Mitchell Starc’s Yorker is one of the beautiful, aesthetically pleasing sights our game and one which you wouldn’t want to miss. And when his Yorker successfully dismisses some of the best batsmen in World Cricket, it not only makes him happy but all those watching it are all in praise for him.
Starc’s Yorker to dismiss Ben Stokes was one of the highlights of the tournament and one the batsman could have done nothing about.
- Mohammed Shami’s hat-trick
Shami’s hat-trick in the final over of the match against Afghanistan when the pressure was on India was as good a response under pressure as would ever see. The match was on and for the longest time, it was Afghanistan who were ahead in the chase.
With 21 runs needed to win the last couple of overs, Indian bowlers bowled really well in the end to hand over India a win and maintain their unbeaten run in the tournament till then.
Shami’s hat-trick thus became part of Indian folklore as he became the second Indian after Chetan Sharma to pick a hat-trick in World Cup.
- Martin Guptill’s direct hit
Kiwi batsmen Martin Guptill had an ordinary World Cup till then. However, when it mattered the most – in a knock out match, Gutill’s significant contribution came not with the bat but with his excellence on the field.
As MS Dhoni was operating in his familiar territory, Guptill’s throw from the deep ran MS Dhoni out as it was a direct hit.
And that meant virtually the match was over and with it shattered a billion dreams in India.
- Archer’s short ball to Carey
In one of the highlights of the semifinal between England and Australia, Jofra Archer’s short pitch ball was so deceptive that Australian keeper batsman Carey did not have a clue.
Although he tried his best to face the ball, perhaps it just too quick to him and he got a bit late to react to that. Archer’s bouncer hit Carey on the chin and his helmet came on his hand. The batsman started bleeding and had to be bandaged.
However, much to the delight of fans, he was okay to just resume the innings.
The incident was enough to hint at Archer’s remarkable stride in World Cricket and his ability to bowl these kind of deceptive short deliveries.
Notably, Archer’s short pitch ball had also hit HashimAmla in the helmet, forcing him to retire hurt and come back later in the match.
- RavindraJadeja;s heroics in vain
If Carlos Braithwaite’s innings was superb under pressure, this was even better. A big World Cup semifinal against the Kiwis and the pressure is enormous because India are already six down when comes in to bat RavindraJadeja.
His quick fire half century and a century stand with Mahendra Singh Dhoni help India make a comeback in the match but just when it looked like he would finish the match for India and come, he departed.
MS Dhoni was out soon after and India were crashed out of the World Cup in the semifinal.
- Trent Boult takes the catch but steps on the boundary
In the end overs of the World Cup final which might be told to grandchildren in stories Be Stokes- the last recognized batsman for England was standing between New Zealand and World Cup final.
Stokes’ hit went straight to Trent Boult who was standing near the boundary rope. Although he managed to pass the ball to the other fielder nearby but not before he had stepped on the boundary line.
In what would have been a wicket and a dot ball, England were awarded six runs and Stokes survived.
- An uncharacteristic six
In the last over when the pressure was enormous, Ben Stokes had to return to strike to help England get over the line. As a result, he was always going to come back for two runs the moment it hit the bat.
Martin Guptill at the deep midwicket position also sensed that Stokes could be caught out of his crease and send a rocketing throw at the wicketkeeper’s end.
However, the throw hit Stokes’s bat, deflected and went for four.
An along the ground six changed things in England’s favour and played a key role in letting them lift their maiden World Cup title.