By Shanthi Peris –
This World Cup finals played last Sunday at the Lords was a unique cricket match since there will never be another World Cup final with two ties.
If I say to begin by far this is the best cricket match I had ever witnessed. As a past cricketer and a cricket coach I say twice, the winner was cricket not either of the teams that played the match. It was unfortunate that the match was decided on a technical issue through the law books. My personal opinion is that neither sides deserved to lose since it was tied twice. Both teams played outstanding cricket. It should be noted at the last stage of New Zealand chasing the 241 runs to win, there were two brilliant run outs taken by the New Zealand fielders which is very difficult under tremendous pressure. Personally, I do not support a team but in this instance I became a supporter of the England team to win this World Cup as they were the best prepared team mentally and physically. I remember Mr Andrew Straus the director of cricket four years back initiated this England team’s preparation for the World Cup, which made me reasonably confident that England will win the championship. Since their preparation included to accustom to conditions and getting the ideal combination.
My assessment is that this match although technically won by England, New Zealand played better cricket. New Zealand would have still won, had that unfortunate overthrow by Martin Guptil which cost them 6 runs was prevented. But it was no fault of this brilliant fielder. The bowl sped to the boundary and England were awarded six runs, on TV I did not get a clear picture whether the ball hit Stokes before completing the second run. Incidentally, Guptil won the semi final for New Zealand versus India by running out Dhoni with a similar throw which hit the stumps. As for the match, I was very fortunate to have seen twenty two cricketers belonging to two nations displaying absolute desciplined cricket through out the match.
I only hope our young cricketers watched this game, had they seen they would have learned a lot of discipline to conduct themselves specially in a final match. If I may state few instances, at a crucial moment when Stokes hit a six over mid wicket the ball just flew over the fielders head and the fielder Boult, failed to hold on to the catch. When everyone was wondering whether it was a six or four runs, the fielder immediately signalled to the umpire indicating it was a six. What was displayed by Boult there was high class discipline that cricketers should have. The way the two captains lead their two respective teams was exemplary. For an instance captain Morgan entrusting the most important super over to Archer who is inexperienced with only fourteen Internationals before him was a remarkable move which won the match for England, because at a pressured situation where the World Cup depended on one over any bowler would have given more than 15 runs. That showed Morgan’s confidence placed on Archer.
I sincerely feel Archer will be an asset to the England team in the forthcoming Ashes series. Australians will have their hands full to cope against this unusual pace bowler. He’s an effortless fast bowler that you will not expect, that speed off the wicket which is easy action. We all remember the ball he got Maxwell out in the Australian match with a snorter of sorts. The ball reared at good length giving Maxwell no chance, so Australians will certainly have a tough time during the Ashes series against him. He will win many matches for England in the future.
At the post match interview I was surprised why Williamson did not mention the LBW decision of Ross Taylor, because whatever runs Taylor made thereafter had he been not out would have made New Zealand victorious. Williamson maintained a very cool head during the entire tournament which is a rarely seen in the field nowadays. Probably that was the reason for former England captain Nassar Hussein to mention that Williamson is a credit to the game of cricket. He will be long remembered for the way he lead his team to that position almost single handedly scoring in every match and showing what an astute leader he is and deservingly received the player of the tournament award. He is a great leader who leads from the front. He will take this New Zealand cricket team to greater heights in the future.
Finally, the most heartening sight at the end of this absolutely fabulous match was to witness all twenty two players hugging each other knowing clearly that neither team lost.
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