Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The World Cup is Over ...

It has been 60 hours since the World Cup final ended, and I am still reeling at the result. But I can't keep ranting about luck, whether bad or good, destiny, rules, karma, and all that ... I already had a good rant on Twitter.

Now it is time to take stock of what happened, get over it, and reflect on this ICC World Cup 2019.

Some thoughts, a lot of ramblings, in no particular order ...

The World Cup Overall
What a tournament! Congrats to the ICC on producing one of the best World Cups ever. For a long time I have maintained that my favorite World Cup was 1992. The fact that Pakistan won aside, it was the best format ever used and produced very exciting cricket with every result mattering.

2019 is right up there for me. Not a single dull moment (barring the washed out games with no reserve days). What fabulous entertainment. Every match mattered, every result mattered, every run mattered, every wicket mattered, and at the end even every boundary mattered!

The best!

The Final
England and New Zealand produced the best World Cup Final ever. Perhaps the best ODI match ever.

Kumar Dharmasena
I have no idea how he is among the top 2 umpires in the world. If his stats prove that he is, then he is surely like South Africa of the old, or India of the new, who perform all the time, but choke when it truly counts.

Pathetic performance in the semi final and final.

Chris Gayle
Sad to see such an icon of white ball cricket depart the World Cup stage without setting it on fire. The only time he performed perhaps kicked Pakistan out of the competition.

Shakib Al Hasan
Talk about rising to the occasion. He has forever been the world's number one allrounder in limited overs cricket. He has always performed for his team. But never has he shone like he did in this World Cup. Runs, wickets, he produced it all.

Player of the tournament for me.

India vs England
I have heard so many conspiracies about this one. India did not chase to screw Pakistan. India did not chase to make it easier for England to qualify for the semi finals. MS Dhoni did not chase to screw Pakistan because of his affiliation with the Indian army.

All bullshit in my opinion.

India is not as strong as everyone is making them out to be. Sure Dhoni's tactics seemed questionable but you know what? Even had he tried, India would not have been able to chase down that total! The semi final against New Zealand is proof of that. The entire World Cup is proof of that with only one successful 300+ chase.

Quite a tournament they had. Their best World Cup to date, but still a long way to go before they become a consistent threat to the leading teams.

Overrated, overzealous, overconfident, outspoken, underperformers.

Babar Azam
This was a coming of age tournament for him. He is only 24, mind you. He rose to the occasion and performed like Pakistan's most dependable batsman throughout the World Cup. That match winning century against the best bowling attack in the world was for me the innings of the World Cup.

No one else scored a 100 against New Zealand's attack like Babar did. Yes Bairstow did, but Ferguson did not play that match. No one else chased a total against New Zealand the way Babar did. He is a superstar.

ICC Rules
Require a major rethink.

Think about this: Never in the history of ODI cricket has a team been declared a winner after being bowled out in a run chase.

The new chokers of World Cricket? Two World Cup Semi Finals lost. Champions Trophy Final lost. World T20 Final lost. World T20 Semi Final lost. All this in the past 5 years.

This is probably outdoing South Africa's chokes!

Virat Kohli
The best batsman in the world, but his scores in the 3 ODI chokes mentioned above: 1, 1, 5. He seems out of depth as captain. Looks like he is just a shadow and Dhoni is doing all the captaining. I feel like he will struggle with captaining the side once Dhoni retires.

Jason Roy
My favorite batsman. I loved every bit of his batting this World Cup. I believe that he makes all the difference to this England team. Without him, they are not the same at all. He scores and England wins.

He failed against Pakistan; England lost.
He failed in the World Cup Final; England just about tied the match.
He did not play against Sri Lanka and Australia; England lost.

In all other games that England won comprehensively, Roy's scores: 54, 153, 66, 60, 85. It is quite remarkable that all of his 9 ODI centuries and 14 out of his 18 ODI fifties have resulted in wins for England.

South Africa
Forget choking, they just failed to arrive this time.

Mohammad Hafeez, MS Dhoni, Hashim Amla
Why didn't they announce their ODI retirements?

Lasith Malinga
Even with that belly he produced some manic fast bowling spells. Champion bowler.

Ben Stokes
What a performer! What a cricketer! This World Cup was a true redemption story for him. Dropped for World Cup 2015, taken apart by Carlos Brathwaite in World T20 Final 2016, failed against Pakistan in CT17 Semi Final, and now Man of the Match in the Final of ICC World Cup 2019.

Turnarounds can be magical! He also took the catch of the World Cup!

What does one say about a team that reaches the final four stage of a World Cup even with an average team. Eternal Champions.

Shaheen Afridi
Find of the tournament? No. He was found well before the tournament. He had a great start to his international career before he hit a stumbling block in matches leading up to the World Cup. He was quite off in his initial WC matches, but then turned it around like a champ.

He was super in Pakistan's last three matches and showed that he can be a true star for the greens!

Mitchell Starc
Almost 50 wickets in two World Cups. Bowlers have not reached that tally in 4 World Cups! He's superb and probably uses the yorker more effectively than any modern day fast bowler.

Also bowled the ball of the World Cup to Ben Stokes.

Martin Guptill
Must suck to be him right now. Poor guy had a terrible World Cup with the bat. And yet he was there needing to score 2 of the final ball of the World Cup to win it for New Zealand.

The best thing he did all World Cup was a throw that caught Dhoni out of his crease and propelled New Zealand to their second successive World Cup Final. And then in the Final, it was his throw that ... I don't even want to say it!

Sri Lanka
Performed way better than expected.

West Indies
Performed way worse than expected. To think some thought they may win this!

Trent Boult
He may have only heard that cricket can be such a leveler, till he experienced it. He caught a ball inches away from the boundary to help New Zealand beat West Indies - in hindsight that catch got New Zealand into the final four. In the World Cup Final, he caught the ball and stepped on the boundary - that lost NZ the World Cup.

He bowled at a phenomenal economy rate of 4.8 throughout the World Cup. But his last 2 overs of the World Cup went for 15 runs each!

Alex Carey
True find of the World Cup. Another champion cricketer produced by Australia. At the start of the World Cup I questioned why he was Australia's first choice wicket keeper. He answered that quite aptly with the bat on multiple occasions.

His stock rose so significantly that Australia promoted him to #5 in the Semi Final!

What does one say about them that hasn't already been said. Ricky Ponting put it best, it is Pakistan vs Pakistan. But undoubtedly, I reckon this was their best World Cup campaign this century and they were very unlucky not to qualify for the Semi Finals.

England vs Sri Lanka
Was it fixed like Rashid Latif alleged? Who knows. Maybe the ICC, the broadcasters and TV Channels, and ECB colluded to provide the World Cup with some impetus. Or maybe not, but games like this is why this format is the best for a World Cup. Made every match count after this one.

Mohammad Aamir
Another redemption story. Handful of wickets at an average of over 90 in the two years before the World Cup, and ended the World Cup as one of the leading wicket takers. Hopefully this is the start of some magical Aamir years with the ball.

Micheal Vaughan
Loved his tweets throughout the World Cup!

Jofra Archer
Another find of the World Cup. Never before has an England bowler shone like this at a World Cup. Only 24 and he is their leader. So much so that he was given the ball for the Final Super Over too. Superstar in the making.

Edgbaston, Birmingham
I have never experienced a crowd like that ever inside a stadium. I've been to cricket matches all over the world in the past 30 years; Edgbaston for Pakistan vs New Zealand was the absolute best!

Kane Williamson
What a Gentleman. What a Cricketer. What a Captain. What a Batsman. What a Human Being. And he is only 28! I wish he wins a World Cup. He made me question whether all that was luck or captaincy tactics that got New Zealand over the line every single time.

He deserved to lift the World Cup Trophy, and I hope that he lifts one in his career!

Sanjay Manjerekar
What a waste of space. If fan boys are allowed to be commentators, what about me? I hope I never have to listen to his voice ever again!

Lockie Ferguson
The world has a new express fast bowler!

Rishabh Pant
What was the fuss all about really? His List A average is 30. His ODI average is under 30. Why is he an ODI number 4? What was all the hype about?

New Zealand
I don't even know where to start. The Kiwis played with my emotions more than Pakistan did.

At first, I thought they did not deserve to be in the World Cup Semi Finals. I felt they were a below average side, had won against weaker teams, got lucky against average teams, lost to all the strong teams, and got lucky to get a free point against India.

Then, after they beat India in the Semi Final and the way they did it, I was turned. I was a fan. Kane Williamson had completely impressed me with his captaincy and calmness. Now I wanted them to win the World Cup.

And they would have had it not been for some really cruel shit. Forget about the rules and the super over and boundaries. That throw from Guptill ... sigh. How cruel can cricket be.

I was as sad for New Zealand as I have ever been for Pakistan. They did nothing wrong. Played the best cricket possible. Did not lose the Final, yet lost the World Cup. Tragic. Just Tragic!

If there is anything such as destiny, this is it. If there was ever a team destined for something, this is it. Congratulations to them for this World Cup win and for inspiring millions through their amazing turnaround story.

Kicked out of World Cup 2015 in the league phase, England planned to become team supreme in white ball cricket. The last 4 years was the build up, and this is their moment to cherish. They have been the world's leading ODI unit for over two years and now they have a World Cup trophy to show for it.

The players would be happy no doubt. But it is really the fans who will be cherishing this win more than anyone. Some of them have waited for 44 years to witness this day!

England finally have a World Cup trophy, but they still cannot say that they have won a World Cup Final!

My World Cup XI
Rohit Sharma, Jason Roy, Kane Williamson, Babar Azam, Shakib Al Hasan, Ben Stokes, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc, Lockie Ferguson, Jasprit Bumrah, Shaheen Afridi

Make your pitch on this post...

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4 Pitched:

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    super sirji. Question about Manjrekar? Just cause what he said about Jadeja?

    Comments in last 2 paras about NZ and Eng are pure Gold. Thank you.

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