The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 has finally come to an end with theAussies lifting the coveted Cup for the fifth time. This year’s World Cup Tournament was the most watched World Cup ever. Everybody anticipated a different final. All long the knockout matches, the ups and downs in expectations were one too many to keep a count. At one point, we’d have thought that India would be in the final. India & New Zealand have won all group matches while Australia had lost to New Zealand before. One would expect India to have won but such is life, and worse is cricket where absolutely anything can happen.
Let’s take a look at the 5 matches that made every cricket loyalist bite deep into their nails and pull out a few hair.
- Australia Vs. New Zealand
It happened to be a good day for Boult; the man was crowned man of the match for his economy. Although Australia was defeated by just 1 wicket it was quite a dent in the team’s morale. With their performance in the final it seems like they came swinging back up from the ashes. Everyone expected the score to climb up to a 300, but NZ’s fervour to bowl out their competition and their dedication to continue to stay undefeated could withstand the force of Aussies.
Vettori taking the crucial two wickets of Watson and Smith was a game changer. The Williamson – Anderson partnership was the anchor that ensured NZ sails through. It was a close call as NZ scraped through till the end. Trent Boult shocked the world. Much deserved Man of the match; he rattled the Australian batting order with his pace & swing. The crowd at Eden Park was sweating it out in anticipation till the last ball. It’s uncanny how a low scoring match could be this entertaining but so it was.
- India Vs. Pakistan
When India plays against Pakistan in a regular ODI, everyone is watching with the anticipation of a World Cup win. Imagine the emotional high, when it is the World Cup and India beats Pakistan. Adelaide came alive with Indian cheers as India won with 76 runs on their side. This ground for Kohli has been so special. He could wrap up and truly take it home. The ploy by Dhoni to keep right – left going clearly worked. Dhawan & Kohli’s
miscommunication cost Dhawan the run out at a very crucial stage.
Kohli’s century was a first in India – Pakistan World Cup mythopoetic history. Apparently, the only other century was by Anwar & Pakistan lost the match. India didn’t break the norm of winning each WC match against Pakistan, and our winning streak stands tall. After piecing together a mind boggling 300, Pakistan had only a small window of opportunity to win. It did look like they might have made it, if it wasn’t for Shami. Misbah tried his level best to push up Pakistan’s run rate but Shami wouldn’t have it any other way. As soon as Afridi’s wicket fell, we knew we’ve made it. Indian uproar could be hear across the globe. We were one in celebration that day!
- Ireland Vs. West Indies
Ireland going in knew they are coming out either a winner or with no hope. When there was nothing to lose, and only to win they made full use of their ‘no fear’ philosophy. Ireland was a real shocker to most as it surprised the world by defeating WI with 4 wickets in hand. That is something, that one would not believe could happen. Ireland was going strong and at one point people thought it might make it to the Semis. For a team that’s fresh and right out of box, owning a match by beating a score of 304 is a herculean task. Ireland was in a fix as the innings were heading towards a close and they were 291/6. With a few late ones WI had maintained its’ hold, especially by taking O’Brien off the board. All in all it was a surprising win for Ireland because they held the fort till the last ball.
- Australia Vs. India
The match that wreaked havoc on the Indian subcontinent as India lost to Australia and was knocked out of the WC 2015. India had hoped to not give the trophy back and they maintained it till the point of no return but as fate would have it, Australia had no plans to let this WC go. They’ve won many a times and they plan on losing no time soon again.
Australia batted first and the total that India had to chase was a whooping 328. The number isn’t as big as the anticipation of facing the bowling order of Australia. Umesh Yadav tried to cut down as many kangaroos in the race, as he could and managed to contain the situation. Indian batting order barely survived the Aussie hail storm. Their aim was to get rid of Kohli, which they quickly did. There on, the impulse of every Indian fan was to look up to Dhoni for hope. Our dear captain could only save a sinking boat so far. While the match in itself was one of those days where India couldn’t do much, the after math in India was gruesome. The players faced another level of disrespect from a part of the audience. Anushka Sharma bore the brunt of cricket while she wasn’t the one holding the bat. Things sure did get quite ugly!
- New Zealand Vs. South Africa
Interestingly, Grant Elliott born in South Africa has denied his birth place, the place in their place in the WC 2015. In fact, fielding is one of the strengths that have been working for SA and suddenly it is exactly what cost them this match. This match was full of game changers like De Villiers failing to take Corey Anderson out in the 41st over. That wicket is what burnt up all hopes for SA. They also dropped a catch and couldn’t bag Elliott. These blunders were what made the game for NZ and broke the backbone of SA’s game play. Audiences held their breath so often, that it became a breathing exercise by the end of it. Most people saw the match worthy of being a final given the spectacular performances of either teams.
What went amiss? God wasn’t kind enough to let cricket take its’ own course!
Image Source: The Viewspaper