England ended their 44-year wait for a maiden 50-overs World Cup title by beating a gutsy New Zealand side on boundaries after a tied Super Over amidst heart-stopping drama on Sunday
The media has been waiting for Ershad to pass away for a while now, and some of us were on call. By the time I reached home, NZ were batting, and it was dull as expected. No problem there, but I had promises to keep. I sat down to edit a 2000+ word review of Ershad’s life in politics. It was then that my life became very exciting. My laptop, with the article inside, crashed. And I had a deadline.
There was no choice for hacks like us. I sent an “I am sending asap” note to the editor, and sat down to write again. Meanwhile, NZ droned on in what was clearly a bowler dominated match. They reached 241. By that time, I had described Ershad’s takeover after toppling BNP.
The middle over and the middle age of the regime
England sounded pretty confident about reaching it quickly. I wondered if they would need the full 50 overs or not. They were not very aggressive, as people said they would be – nothing like the crowd that would gather in Dhaka chanting: “Go home, dictator.” They were plodding with the occasional bursts, but NZ bowlers kept taking wickets, and the run rate just wouldn’t go over 5.
By the time I began to mention the Pir of Atroshi and also mention his other – you know, all those beautiful... what can I say – speeches, England had slowed down. It was getting a little interesting. The match looked close.
Soon, Khaleda and Hasina had launched a united front attack on Ershad, and the streets were raging again. But England kept losing wickets. They kept trying to hit and getting out. During the last 5 overs, I kept Ershad waiting to get kicked out.
Clearly England didn’t seem champion material then. But two 6s and 14 runs later with 2 wickets gone in, an over tied the score. And a super over was called. And that’s when the final began.
The super over championship
Until the super over, it was a good but not special match. But suddenly it changed as England took the field. They were six terrific balls and 15 runs including two boundaries, and some terrific running between the wickets. The crowd was yelling, cheering like the day Ershad fell.
NZ came out to bat and got a wide. Then a 2, then a 6, and then Archer just gave a 2. Two were required from the last ball to win the cup, but NZ just managed 1. Guptill was run out. The Cup was going to stay home. England had won the ODI championship in a classic T20 style cricket. It’s called irony.
Meanwhile Ershad was still waiting to hear my verdict on his reign.
Goodbye, dear reader. Goodbye. What a wonderful month spent with you all.