Never in my life. Will I again witness such moments of utterly magical sporting drama. If a scriptwriter had penned the conclusion to the 2019 Cricket World Cup, they would have been laughed out of court. And told to pull themselves together. And come up with something rational and plausible. You could not have writ what those of us who are now lucky to say, “we were there’, saw. By Christmas time, the tale will have been told a
Play delayed after early morning rain. And grey “Old Trafford skies” hanging over a muggy north London. A heavy atmosphere. Real tangible tension in the air. Nervous chat. England’s cricketers on the cusp of immortality. The prospect of this island nation becoming the first to ever win World Cups at football, rugby and cricket. But whenever the prize is so vast, and the prospect so alluring, you kinda know it ain’t going to be a walk in a North London park. And so it proved.
England’s bowlers doing a good job for sure. But what is it good enough? At “half time”, a quick drink with some good friends. I was positive. If at the start of this great tournament (as of now, the Greatest Tournament with a big capital G) we had been offered chasing 241 to win the World Cup, we would have leapt at the opportunity. But the nervous chatter was filled with doubt and concern. This New Zealand side are beyond canny, and “canny” works on slow pitches, and when the ball is wobbling around in the leaden air. And so it proved. The English batsmen could not find their fluency. The vast majority of the crowd and the players seemed mired in cloying treacle. We all knew what we wanted to happen, but the ultimate goal kept slipping further over the horizon. It was agony. Utter agony of a type that only sport can deliver.