The Most Nerve - Wracking World Cup Final


The ODI World Cup 2019 ended at the very crescendo of an epic buildup. After 2 months of an amazing exhibition of cricket by the participating 10 nations, The Hosts England and New Zealand were both set to win their respective maiden World Cups.
The First Innings
New Zealand won the toss and chose to bat. Martin Guptill fell rather early during the match despite opening the boundary tally for New Zealand. His pattern of being dismissed early continued through to the final with an average below 24. Chris Woakes and Joffra Archer pressured the Englishmen well by keeping them under 33 in the first Powerplay.
In the Second Powerplay, Henry Nicholls seemed rather determined while Captain Williamson took a backseat. Their 50 partnership came up during the 19th over. This continued on till the 22nd over when New Zealand crossed 100 runs but almost immediately lost Williamson to being caught behind by Plunkett. Henry Nicholls completed his 50 by the 26th over. However, he departed at 55 off of 77 balls in the very next over.
The last five overs of the match were a dying attempt by the Kiwi batting. Grandhomme departed for 17 in the 47th. Tom Latham had held the batting together rather well with his 47 but before he could reach his 50, was dismissed in the 19th over. Jofra Archer picked up Henry’s wicket in the last over and finished the New Zealand innings at a respectable 241/8.
The Second Innings
The English innings started off on the first ball with an appeal for LBW. However, thanks to an Umpire’s call, the Kiwis kept their review and England, their opener. Trent Boult and Matt Henry went into the attack strongly. This led to Henry capturing Jason Roy (17) in the 6th over itself. England seemed to be following the Kiwi batting style although Henry got a maiden in the 10th over putting England at 39 as compared to New Zealand's’ 33.
Bairstow and Root had stabilized themselves and crossed 50 for England in the 14th over. However, this didn’t last long as the Kiwi bowling was very tight and cost Joe Root his wicket for 7 runs in the 17th over. Bairstow followed in the 20th over having scored 36. The Kiwi bowling consistently maintained their pressure. When they brought Neesham into the attack in the 24th over, he claimed the scalp of Eoin Morgan off his first ball. At 86/4 England now seemed to be in trouble.  In the 28th over, England got themselves over 100. 
Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes stabilized the innings with their 50-run partnership before the final drinks break of the final. They didn’t seem to be in a mood to stop and proceeded to make a stand that pushed above 150 in the 38th over. Their partnership seemed to have given England a sigh of relief and put the pressure back on the Kiwis. By the last Powerplay came around, the tension was palpable. This was going to be a nail-biting finish. By the 45th over started, England were 189/4 with Buttler and Stokes each having crossed their respective 50s in the previous over. 
However, Buttler lost his wicket off of the last ball and had to depart for 59. The 46th oversaw Stokes hit the ball for Four to push England over 200. The first ball of the next over saw Woakes depart for 2.  The 48th oversaw England at 218/6 with 24 needed off of 12 deliveries. The tension was now sky high and everyone was on their feet. Neesham then proceeded to scalp Jofra Archer for a duck. Neither side was going to give in no matter what.
The last over now needed 15 off of 6 deliveries. Trent Boult had the responsibility to secure the Kiwi victory with the well-settled Ben Stokes on strike with 79 runs on the board. 2 dot balls from Boult put the pressure on Stokes. He fought back by putting the ball over the boundary for 6 and now England needs 9 off 3. 
The next ball was perhaps the rarest and most controversial delivery ever seen in a World Cup final. Stokes smashed the ball away and ran for 2. However, the throw directly hit his bat and ran away for 4 in a bizarre and extremely weird coincidence. The rules, however, demanded England be awarded 6 runs for the delivery, 2 they ran and 4 for misfielding. 
The fifth delivery sent Rashid out and England needing 2 runs off 1 ball. Mark wood tried his best but could not manage more than a single and was run out putting England and New Zealand on a most unprecedented draw in an ODI World Cup Final.
The Super Over
Now that the unthinkable had happened, the rulebooks came out and demanded a Super over. England would bat first. A mere knife would not cut the tension in the stadium. Around the world, people who had lost interest in the world cup had started tuning in to witness history. People were frantically calling and messaging each other to tune in and not miss anything. 
Trent Boult was given the ball by New Zealand. Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler walked out for England. The first ball saw a wild swing by Stokes that earned England 3 runs off the first delivery.  The second was put away for a single. The third delivery was sent to the fence for 4 by Stokes. The fourth saw a single and the fifth a double. Meanwhile, Jofra Archer started warming up for bowling the over. England had put up 11 on the board so Buttler did his bit for Queen and country and smashed the last ball for 4 putting England at 15. 
24-year-old Jofra Archer was given the duty to win the final for the country that invented cricket but never won the World Cup.  The pressure seemed to have got to Archer as the first delivery went for a wide. Ben Stokes had a word with the bowler to calm the youngsters’ nerves.  Neesham squeezed the next delivery for 2. The Kiwis were not to be held back though. Neesham proceeded to smash the next delivery for 6. New Zealand now needed 7 off of 4. The next two deliveries were also scored for 2 runs each and then a single off the 5th delivery.
The Kiwis now needed 2 runs off of the last ball. Oddly reminiscent of the England chase just a couple overs ago. Martin Guptill hit the ball as hard as he could but because of good fielding and not running fast enough, got run out before getting the very crucial single. 
Now according to the rules, England and New Zealand had tied scores in 50 overs. Since the Super Over got tied as well, rules dictated the team with more boundaries scored would win the match. This meant England won the match on the basis of a rule that had been put in as extreme insurance. Not only that, but the rule had originally been designed for T20 and been directly copy-pasted leading to controversy. Many umpires contested the awarding of 6 runs during the overthrow during the first innings of the English and many fans ridiculed the counting of boundaries as a rule in ODI format
However, irrespective of that, Kane Williamson and his team graciously and gracefully accepted the verdict with a smile on their faces in true sportsmanlike conduct while England celebrated their pride and joy. This act perhaps won more hearts than winning the World Cup and reminded everyone why Cricket is known as the Gentleman’s sport. 

- Nachiket Bhushan Kondhalkar




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The Most Nerve - Wracking World Cup Final The Most Nerve - Wracking World Cup Final Reviewed by EMN on July 16, 2019 Rating: 5

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