Super sub Marnus Labuschagne entered Lord’s as trivia-night fodder but left as part of Ashes folklore, doing the heavy lifting alongside Travis Head as Australia salvaged a dramatic draw in the absence of Steve Smith.
The greatest ODI to date may have transpired at the iconic Lord’s in London last weekend.
The rain wasn’t to come that day, and the Mecca of cricket burnt like a furnace. That level of unforgettable events managed to capture the attention of the fans, so much so that they’d probably have been happy for the match to continue until a convincing result was reached.
However, sport is cruel. It seldom leaves room for feelings. As much as it’s about individual and team performances, it is also the soul and the spirit of the game itself that creates magic out of nowhere.
The World Cup final was always going to boil down to a single winner. Deservedly it was England, which took the tournament by storm with their all-round show, were crowned champions.
For New Zealand, there are countless emotions attached.
It was Martin Crowe and Stephen Fleming who sowed the seeds and became the trendsetters. Brendon McCullum took it to a new level with his swashbuckling batting and his inspirational presence on the field. Kane Williamson, with his tenaciousness and a tinge of shrewdness behind his serene smile, made things work. But the Kiwis, despite all that, racked up the near misses.
However, 2015 and 2019 threatened to finally be the year the Black Caps took it home, with this year certainly being the closest example.
Yes, it’s over. It’s all done and dusted. The closest final we will likely ever see. But it wasn’t as satisfying as it could have been. To think about it in the cold light of day, the side with the most depth snuck through.
Not that England or New Zealand lacked the soul and the spirit, but that’s the thing about England – the harder they get knocked down, the more unstoppable they become.
Sure, they hit a roadblock in the competition, a blip large enough to hand them a most significant setback. However, unlike the Kiwis, who relied mainly on their bowlers, the 11 Englishmen chipped in with crucial contributions at all stages. Such has been the hallmark of the rejuvenated English side, harvesting talent to back up the humongous expectations.
Lady Luck did play a significant role in giving them their World Cup triumph; however, how could one overlook the leap taken by Eoin Morgan’s men? Beaten by Sri Lanka and Australia in back-to-back games, England took an in-depth look at the spectrum of abilities their squad had to offer. The backlash against those crushing losses wouldn’t stop, but neither were the hosts.
The equation was simple: win all the games and win the World Cup. England knew they had it in them to sweep away opponents, which is what they did in their fortress, at Edgbaston. However, their gameplay on sporty pitches was still under the scanner. Lord’s turned out to be a nightmare for the hosts, and defending champions Australia mauled them.
Again the Poms stood put their hands up, this time at Lord’s when being put to the sword by the Kiwis. Ben Stokes rejoiced a perfect redemption while Jos Buttler saved his best knock of the World Cup for the last.
However, several debates and arguments have sparked since the humdinger of a final. Matches in this sport have hardly reached this point. There could’ve been a better way to decide the winner of the tournament, but England had the last laugh, and deservedly so with the way they have turned the tables of their 50-over fortunes.
Have they ever looked as dangerous than they do now?