What the luck! Destiny scripts England’s crazy World Cup win

England, Eoin Morgan, ICC World Cup 2019, CWC2019, New Zealand, Kane Williamson, Super Over, Cricket, english news website, The Federal
England's captain Eoin Morgan raises the trophy after winning the Cricket World Cup final match between England and New Zealand at Lord's cricket ground in London. Photo: PTI

There can be just one explanation for England’s World Cup triumph at Lord’s on Sunday (July 14): Destiny conspired to put the trophy in their hands.

You could have asked a million writers of fantasy and fiction to come up with the script of that mad, preposterous, thrilling final. But, none of them could have come up with the kind of twists and turns it had. And, not one person in this galaxy could have thought of the defining moment of the game: a six from a throw that ricocheted off the diving batsman’s bat. Only destiny could have conjured that.

Think about it again. The final tied. The super over tied. England don’t win. New Zealand don’t lose. But, because this is a game, someone has to be declared the winner. So, England get the rub of the green—that thing we call luck.

Seven weeks of cricket. 102 overs of a final. 18 wickets. And, in the end, it comes down to who has the blessings of the cricketing deity that day. New Zealand must be wondering what they had done to not be destiny’s nation. Maybe, as Indians would believe, they beat the wrong team in the semi-final? Bad karma, no?

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When destiny conspires to make something happen, events turn out just the way Rhonda Byrne imagines in her bestseller, The Secret: Ask for it and you will get it. The theory is debatable. It is too simplistic. But, for once, England would think that’s exactly how the universe works.

Also read: NZ better team through WC, we got rub of green in final: Morgan

England had been preparing for this moment for four years. They had worked on their batting, packed it with an endless middle order that could pulverise bowling attacks. They had practised on pitches at home, perfected an aggressive style of batting backed by an even more aggressive brand of bowling. For four years, England had believed they would win the World Cup at Lord’s, in front of an eager, impatient home crowd.

They prayed for it, they got rewarded with it.

When destiny is hell bent on writing a story with a climax of its choice, many established beliefs, convictions are turned on their head. Fortune, they say, favours the brave. At Lord’s it didn’t. New Zealand were by the braver side in the game. They defended a small total against a side programmed to score 350-plus in almost every game with nerves of steel and ferocity of a cornered tiger. With just three balls left to be bowled in the final—well, the original final before it went to the super over—they almost had all of New Zealand dancing in the aisles.

But, England benefitted from a Stoke of luck. (That was waiting to be written). In a bid to beat Martin Guptill’s throw, Ben Stokes dived into the crease. The ball, on its way to the wicketkeeper’s glove, hit the bat and sped to the boundary.

England needed 9 off three balls before that serendipitous six. Had the ball not hit the bat, England would have had to score 7 off the last two. Had the ball landed in a fielders hands after hitting the bat, Stokes would not have run on the overthrow out of cricketing courtesy. But, the ball crossed the boundary. And the umpire had no option but to signal six runs. You can say it was inevitable.

Also read: Skipper Williamson breaks Jayawardene’s World cup record

If you are an Indian fan, you can, of course, argue what destiny gifts, it also takes away on some other day. Just the other day, Guptill’s throw from fine leg had dashed India’s hopes when it hit the wickets and found Mahendra Singh Dhoni out by inches. What Guptill won for New Zealand with his throw in the semi-final, destiny gave away to England on another day.

If you are a West Indies fan, you can again argue the same thing. In their match against New Zealand, Carlos Brathwaite was caught on the boundary by Trent Boult just when the ball seemed to be sailing away for a match-winning six. In the final, Stokes was caught on the midwicket fence by—well, well—by Boult. But, the backward momentum of the catch made Boult step on the boundary. A match-winning catch ended up being a six. Talk about margins!

In the end, it was a crazy finale for a crazy World Cup. Think about this: The only teams that beat India went on to play in the finals. And, Pakistan, the only team that beat both England and New Zealand didn’t even qualify for the knock-out stage.

You can argue that destiny was the real player in this world cup. Others just turned up as its puppets.

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