A World Cup of contrasting emotions

The 2019 World Cup certainly had its moments of highs and lows. Keeping aside all the numbers and statistics, it was the human emotion which came to the forefront during this edition. There could not be a better example than the final, where despite England lifting the trophy, the spirit of the game emerged as the clear winner.

For some players, in particular, this tournament had some extremely contrasting feelings in store for them. They experienced moments which would go down as highlights of their career. They also had to feel anguish at a different point, which will undoubtedly stay with them for the rest of their careers.

Here we list down a few of those moments:

Two run-outs, two extreme emotions

Two high-profile games. Two run-outs. Two results directly affected by it. The common denominator in all of this – Martin Guptill. First coming to the moment of glory. The scene is tense at Old Trafford in Manchester. It seems as though MS Dhoni will pull another rabbit out of the hat and guide India to an improbable victory. The match is the semi-final of a World Cup. Guptill has had a miserable tournament with the bat. Stationed at fine-leg, a chance at glory flashes in front of his eyes. With one and a half stumps to aim at, the opener does not err, leaving his side in jubilation. A billion hearts are broken. New Zealand are in the final of the World Cup.

Now coming to the heartbreak. New Zealand have fought tooth and nail. They have given it their all. Against a rampaging England side, they have performed exceptionally well to stay alive in the contest. After 100 overs of cricket, nothing can separate the two sides. It all boils down to the super over. Chasing 16 runs to lift the trophy, the Kiwis require 2 runs off the final delivery. Guptill digs out Jofra Archer’s delivery to mid-wicket. He takes off, running as his life depends on it. He dives, stretching all the limbs he has in his body but misses by inches. The game is tied but the World Cup is gone. Jubilation from the previous game has turned into an agony of a lifetime.

Boult’s tournament of inches

Carlos Brathwaite after three years of anguish had made the world sit up and take notice of his talents again. The match-winning feat against England in the T20 World Cup final would be remembered forever. But nothing of note had come out of his willow after the heroics. Not any longer. In a match which was dead and buried, Brathwaite went all guns blazing, with his century almost taking the Windies over the line. The delivery by Jimmy Neesham was in the slot with six runs required for a victory. Brathwaite had timed his shot pretty well. But there he was, Trent Boult, lurking at long-on. He held the catch, just being inside the boundary ropes by mere inches. The Kiwis had prevailed.

Lady luck though has a funny way of changing sides. In the final, England required 22 off 9 deliveries. Boult again marshalling the deep boundary regions had the task of cleaning things up. The danger man Ben Stokes was at the crease and smashed the ball. Boult readied himself to take the catch but stumbled backwards. Though he caught the ball, Boult had stepped on to the boundary ropes. His error made the equation much more comfortable for England, who would eventually lift the World Cup on the basis of a superior boundary count.

Stokes at contrasting ends of moments of brilliance

The tournament opener between England and South Africa was lit up by Ben Stokes. The defining moment of the match came as he picked up one of the greatest catches of all-time near the boundary line which dismissed Andile Phehlukwayo. The moment dubbed as ‘catch of the century’ by many, saw Stokes fly off at deep square leg to give the photographers an image which will undoubtedly stand the test of time. The spectators at the Oval were left in awe, witnessing something which they had never seen before.

Stokes was also at the receiving end of arguably the best ball of the tournament. Mitchell Starc was a fired-up customer, having a record-breaking tournament. Starc’s blistering in-dipping yorker to dismiss Ben Stokes, who was settled and threatening to take the game away from the Aussies wowed the masses, leaving them gasping for air. Stokes himself was left stunned by the delivery, shaking his head, knowing all too well that there was nothing which he could have done to avoid the calamity.

Hitman’s heartbreak

Rohit Sharma was scoring runs for runs at will. When the ball left his willow, there was brutality and elegance in equal measures. All the records were in his sight. There were 5 centuries for the Hitman throughout the tournament. Three of them came in a row, prior to the semi-final against New Zealand. All signs pointed towards another Rohit masterclass.

India were set a target of 240 by New Zealand. Old Trafford waited with bated breath, as Sharma walked out to take guard on the crease. There was almost an air of certainty, that Rohit would gallop like a prancing horse, walloping the target down. But an anti-climax was soon to follow. Dealing in centuries throughout the tournament, Sharma was dismissed by a seaming delivery from Matt Henry on 1. India could not survive the blow. All of a sudden, they found themselves reeling at 5-3. The World Cup dream was shattered. Rohit’s dejected expression in the dressing room when the camera panned on him said it all. He had given it his absolute best but did not have another innings of fury left in him. The chase of ultimate glory continues for Sharma.