We are almost at the end of the World Cup with just the final showdown remaining on Sunday. The 12th edition produced some of the best cricketing moments that put the fans on the edge of their seats.
The first half of the tournament was one-sided whereas the second half saw every team giving it all to qualify for the final four. As the format of this World Cup was to face every other team in the league stage, even the underdogs had a chance to stamp their authority.
From Rohit Sharma’s five centuries to Shakib Al Hasan’s all-round performances, from Starc’s fiery spells to Williamson’s incredible touch with the bat we have seen it all. Apart from these brilliant performances, there have been a lot of heartbreaking moments for some of the teams.
We have seen Afghanistan failing to capitalize on their strong positions in some of their games to return home without a single victory to their name. We have also seen Bangladesh scoring wins against South Africa and the West Indies that rattled the opposition. Beyond these, let us look at the three heartbreaking moments of this world cup that will be remembered for a long time.
#3 Carlos Brathwaite's valiant effort against New Zealand
Back in the 2016 T20 World Cup final, the whole world was stunned looking at Brathwaite’s last over heroics that won West Indies their second T20 World Cup. Something similar was required when West Indies were struggling at 142 for 4, chasing 292 against the Kiwis.
To add to the misery, three more wickets fell in a space of 22 runs. Brathwaite held his end firmly and stitched a 47-run partnership with Kemar Roach. He approached the chase with the target in mind and therefore the run rate didn't go beyond the limit.
After the departure of Kemar Roach, he stepped up his game smashing huge sixes with Cottrell holding up the other end. When Cottrell fell, West Indies were again in deep trouble as they still required 47 runs whilst only a single wicket remained.
The West Indian all-rounder took most of the strike and hit 25 runs in the 48th over, needing just 8 needed off the final two overs. Jimmy Neesham bowled the 49th over and gave away just 2 runs in the first five deliveries.
With 6 required, Brathwaite wanted to finish things off in style. He hit the final delivery of the 49th over high into the night sky but was caught brilliantly by Trent Boult at Long On, inches from the boundary. West Indies lost the game by 5 runs, but Brathwaite’s 101 off 82 balls will always be cherished as a World Cup classic.
#2 Mohammad Nabi's 55-ball 52 against India
We have seen a number of lower-ranked teams who fail to put up a fight in the big tournaments, but Afghanistan isn’t on that list.
In spite of not winning a single game, Afghanistan managed to scare their opposition on various occasions. One such occasion was against Team India. On a slow wicket, Afghanistan restricted India to just 224 runs with a contribution of Mohammad Nabi in the middle overs.
Chasing this modest total, the Afghans were stuck by Bumrah’s brilliance in the second spell as they lost 2 quick wickets with just 106 runs on the board. Nabi came in and kept the team in the hunt by getting the odd boundary while rotating the strike.
Even the number one ODI bowler was pulled over the leg side for a six. With 16 required off the last over, the Indian camp was certainly worried. To add to this, Nabi dismissed the first ball straight past the bowler for a boundary. But that was as good as it got as Nabi smashed the third delivery of the over straight into the hands of long-on.
#1 India vs New Zealand, semi-finals
For the World Cup final that is going to take place on Sunday, almost 29% of the tickets were booked by the Indians as they hoped to see their team lift the trophy. But that wasn’t the case at all as they failed to beat the Kiwis in the semi-final.
Batting first, the Kiwis struggled to reach 211 runs in 46.1 overs with rain disrupting the play. The match resumed on the next day as they piled up 28 runs in the next 23 deliveries setting a gettable target of 240. With the batting line-up that the Indian team has, everyone expected them to chase this down quite easily but the New Zealanders had different plans.
The Kiwi pacers bowled in the right areas and soon the top order was in the pavilion with just 5 runs on the board. Pant who had just come in tried to hold the batting line-up but witnessed a beautiful take by Neesham as Dinesh Karthik got dismissed.
Jadeja played the innings of his life amassing 77 off 59 balls and added 106 runs for the 7th wicket with Dhoni. India’s hopes were crushed when Jadeja and Dhoni got dismissed in the 48th and 49th over respectively. New Zealand went on to win the game by 18 runs.