HomeICC Cricket World CupEnglandThrilling Epic ICC Finals - Part II

Thrilling Epic ICC Finals – Part II

Thrilling Epic ICC Finals:In the first part of this series, we looked at three of the most timeless epic ICC finals of all time. These are the games that turn a neutral viewer into a cricket-loving one. It inspires kids to take up the sport. Sachin Tendulkar has admitted many times that it was India’s win in the 1983 World Cup that made him take up the sport.

The ability to transcend:

In the second and final part of this series, we will mainly look at two of the most epic ICC finals of all time. These two games had the power to almost stop time. They are widely regarded as the best games of their format. There couldn’t have been a better advert and a bigger platform for the matches to have played out.

We look at two such epic ICC Finals of all time:

#2 India vs Pakistan, 2007 T20 World Cup Final

The most valuable unknown:

It was a beginning of a tournament that nobody knew had the potential to change the game. India one of the finalists in fact had played all of 1 game heading into the 2007 T20 World Cup. The seniors from the Test and ODI team decided to ’skip’ the format. This meant a young MS Dhoni-led a side of bare unknowns into the mega event. Shoaib Malik-led Pakistan was relatively more experienced and their natural flair augured well for the format.

The path to the finals:

India dropped one game in the whole tournament and that was against New Zealand in the super eight stage. They had to win all the games post that loss to make it to the final and India did that fairly well. Pakistan on the other hand technically didn’t lose any game in the build-up to the final but they did lose out on the bowl-out to India in the league stage.

A heart-stopping final:

There couldn’t have been a bigger narrative for the format than two traditional arch-rivals having a go against each other in a World Cup final. The 2007 T20 World Cup provided just that. India appeared to have a vice-like grip on the game having picked up 7 Pakistani wickets. But Misbah ul Haq turned the game around in a matter of few overs. Pakistan was one hit away from winning the title.

The Midas touch:

Joginder Sharma bowled it wide and Misbah played an ill-fated scoop shot. Sreesanth fielding at short fine picked up the catch and the stadium went into delirium. There were unreal scenes on the ground and the frenzy around the world was unmatchable. The format was here to stay. Dhoni-led India won the World Cup amidst zero expectations and Indian cricket has never been the same again!

#1 England vs New Zealand, 2019 ODI World Cup Final

The emergence of a new champion:

England and New Zealand knocked out two powerhouses of the game in the semifinals. The home side, England pulverized Australia while New Zealand ended India’s campaign in heartbreak. This meant that there would be a new winner at the end of this World Cup final. Nobody knew though that the winner needn’t necessarily win the game!

A tournament of touch-and-go scores:

It wasn’t a high-scoring tournament where scores of 250 proved to be difficult for chasing sides. New Zealand winning the toss posted 241. England at the halfway stage were overwhelming favourites. But the Kiwis came back hard with the ball. They had almost derailed the English run chase. Ben Stokes in the company of Jos Buttler kept England in the game. Just when it appeared that England will breeze through ultimately they started losing wickets in heap.

A final of endless drama:

It was down to Ben Stokes vs New Zealand in the final two overs. Stokes heaved one down the leg side only for Trent Boult to touch the ropes while grabbing it. It was a decisive moment in the game. New Zealand still didn’t throw in the towel. They stretched the equation to 15 off the last 4 balls.

Stokes got one middle of the bat and brought it down to 9 off 3. The fourth ball saw England scampering back for two when a throw from Martin Guptill ricocheted of Stokes’ bat and went for a boundary. The umpire awarded England 6 runs. They needed just 3 of 2 but New Zealand managed to take it to the super over.

A T20 rule that decided that ODI World Cup champions:

England scored 15 of their allotted 6 balls in the super over. New Zealand needed 2 runs to win off the final ball. The boundary count rule was in existence to decide the winner after the first super over. It meant even if New Zealand scored 15 which was the same amount of runs that England did they would end up losing.

The finest white ball match:

Jason Roy’s perfect throw to Jos Buttler meant New Zealand was stranded at 15 and yet lost the final. In the biggest of world stages, a side was declared a winner with the other finalist not losing the game at least not technically. This bizarre rule prompted the ICC to change it immediately. It was a terrific ODI World Cup, the best in recent memory. And its final will arguably down as the finest white ball game ever!

Vignesh Rajagopal
Vignesh Rajagopalhttps://stumpsandbails.com/
I am a passionate cricket lover, who likes to express his views on the beautiful game and share insights and analysis about the finer aspects of the sport.

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