Author: Rahul Srinivas
The current biggest stage of cricket- the ICC World cup 2019 has come to an end. The final showdown of the CWC has happened at England, Lord’s on the 14th of July between two teams who have never lifted the cup before. This is the first time since 1996, where a team other than India or Australia is standing in the spotlight of the finals. As the big question of who’ll emerge victorious tomorrow- The founders of cricket or the kiwis draws close, here are some moments that changed the course of the world cup and led us here.
The ICC CWC started with a thrilling match between the teams South Africa and England, both teams being extraordinary at the game. Although South Africa is a good team, they have always chocked under pressure. This was clearly visible in this year’s world cup. Despite having experienced and talented players like Hashim Amla and de Kock, and a captaincy under the brilliant Faf du Plesis, they still ended up at the 7th place at the points table.
Rain was another important factor in this year’s World Cup. It affected our Indian team twice. Both times, against the same team- New Zealand. And both the times the rains favored the kiwis. The first time it rained was India’s third match, IND vs NZ. The match was cancelled due to rain and each team got one point. If the match had happened, and if we had beaten NZ, then Pakistan would’ve been in the 4th place instead of NZ.
The semi-finals would have been a match between India and Pakistan. The chance of victory against the team of Pakistan was high because of the fact that we have never lost to them in the World Cup, since the beginning. India lost only to 2 teams this World Cup- England and New Zealand. The 2 teams that are qualified for the finals.
The second time it rained was in the semi-finals. The match was IND vs NZ, again. This time the rain helped NZ, again. We were on a winning spree, eliminating the NZ batsmen one by one. It rained when NZ were stuck in a low score of just 211/5 and there were only 23 balls left. The chance of us winning was at a steady 95%. It rained at the stage where 46.1 overs were up. The rain lasted a full day, postponing the match to the next day. In cricket, the day after a semi-final and final match is kept empty, for similar cases. This day is called the resume day, where the match starts from where it was left off.
So, NZ started playing from 211/5 on the resume day and they reached a score of just 239. A small target for a team like India, especially with talented batsmen like Rohit Sharma who set a new record for the most number of centuries in a World Cup, Virat Kholi who is one of the best batsmen currently and of course our Captain cool, M.S.Dhoni. Although they were playing well in previous matches, this match tested our batsmen. Our openers hit only one run per batsmen and we had lost 3 of our best- Rohit Sharma, Virat Kholi and KL Rahul were out and we were at a really low score of 5/3. All the fans were upset beyond words, but there was still a ray of hope. All of us were the edge of our seats, waiting for MSD to show his magic and win us the game, like he had done a million times before. And he indeed gave us hope. The brilliant partnership between MSD and Sir Jadeja turned the match to our direction. Earlier, Sanjay Manjrekar had said that Jadeja was just bits and pieces of a player. He proved him wrong by not only hitting a whooping 77 in the semi finals on the biggest stage of cricket, but also by saving 41 runs in just 2 matches and topping the table for the most runs saved, proving how good a fielder he was.
Unfortunately, the magic did not last long. The 287th ball of the innings witnessed the fall of Sir Jadeja. But that was not the end. The true heartbreak for the fans followed 4 balls after that. The 291st ball. The ball where all hope was truly lost. The fall of our Captain cool. Millions of fans watched the run out of MSD where he missed the grease by just a few inches, with just a few milliseconds late. The man was down and so was the team and the country. India were beaten in just 49.3 overs while NZ won by 18 runs. The fact that we did not win hurt. The fact that we could not give the cup to the man who gave us the cup on 2011 hurt much more. It was MSD’s last CWC and our team did not win. That hurt more than the loss itself.
People say we might have won if there was no rain on the first day, as we were in an excellent form. Maybe they are right. Maybe we lost because of the rain. But what has happened can not be changed. So, this CWC faced a lot of twists with SA finishing 7th, PAK getting eliminated because of rains, NZ winning because of the same reason. Players proving themselves and silencing the haters. Oh, and let’s not forget the confident captain Sarfaraz Khan who said miracles happen and Pakistan will score a colossal 500. And that’s a wrap of the journey!