A World Cup of ifs and buts
Match 29, West Indies are on the verge of pulling off a miracle. The whole stadium is spellbound by the remarkable performance of Carlos Brathwaite. West Indies are just six runs away from an upset win against tournament favourites New Zealand. All other teams below New Zealand on the points table are waiting in anticipation. The last ball of the second last over, Brathwaite gets out of his crease, goes down the ground aiming for a big six to finish the match, but God had different plans.
The ball finds Trent Boult on the boundary line who takes a remarkable catch. 'The dream is diminished' for Carlos Brathwaite and West Indies, and indirectly for Pakistan too.
This World Cup was marked with many ifs and buts. So much could have gone differently on so many occasions to produce a completely different result.
The whole of Pakistan was busy drawing comparisons between the 2019 and 1992 World Cups. After a dismal performance in early matches, Sarfaraz XI gathered themselves as an invincible unit; one after another beating much better teams. However, it was too little too late. The ifs and buts came in between the redemption and the Shaheens. Had New Zealand lost to West Indies in that match, Pakistan would have gone through the semifinals.
A few days later India found themselves in a similar situation.
After a jagged start in the semifinal against New Zealand, Dhoni and Jadeja took the responsibility to guide their ship home. However, just when 25 runs were required off 10 balls, Dhoni fell short by a few centimetres completing a difficult run and a perfectly aimed throw by Martin Guptill sent him back to the dressing room and the entire team back to India.
Ten Sports’ post-match analysis show once again brought back the idea of history repeating itself in the manner of 1992 World Cup with just one difference, that it wasn’t Pakistan but New Zealand all along. However, what happened next was beyond anyone’s comprehension.
Just one match later, lady luck betrayed New Zealand and took sides with the home team England.
The final match of the World Cup which many people are labelling as the best ODI match ever played in history, saw England take the glory.
A match which was as close as two coats of paint was finally decided by the rule book instead of the on-ground performance.
But before this whole drama unveiled itself there was one moment which qualified as the God of ifs and buts. A throw at the wicket which deflected to the boundary for four runs after hitting the bat of Ben Stokes cost New Zealand the cup. The same lady luck which was on the side of New Zealand when they sent Dhoni home became the reason for New Zealand’s own departure.
This World Cup has a perfect lesson for anyone who is struggling in their lives. It’s not only the hard work and passion which brings success, but good fortune also plays an equally important role. Minus all the uncertainty, New Zealand could have been the world champions or best case scenario, even Pakistan could have lifted the cup. Had Australia not taken a referral in last second against Wahab Riaz or had Pakistan’s match against Sri Lanka not been washed out, the World Cup’s script could have been much different.
In the end, the world went home only with ifs and buts and the trophy stayed with the creators of the game, England.