ICC World Twenty20 - Hero of the Final: Everyone
Let me start by saying that seldom have I enjoyed a cricket match that I have not been physically present at as much as today's ICC Twenty20 Final. Then I must say that not choosing one individual as today's Hero is not a cop-out: it's a genuine reflection on both the match and the tournament. There were just so many contenders that it has proved impossible to pick a singe individual.
I toyed with going for the ICC - and there's a first - but they, and especially Steve Ellworthy the organiser in South Africa - have put on a top-notch show. Everyone has praised this competition: sensible ticket-pricing and allocations ensured full crowds at most matches, and the spectators were allowed to be vocal, wave flags and basically have fun. They provided great atmosphere, so maybe the fans at the grounds should be the heroes? Then there's the players. Almost without exception they entered into the spirit of the event and played with gusto and enjoyment.
Three more sets of multiples deserve mention: the commentators and guests on ball-by-ball coverage on the radio (I found myself actually enjoying Geoff Boycott who laughed with real humour a lot, rather than laughing sardonically), the writers of Over-by-over coverage on the internet - in various places - who brought wit and insight, and OBO contributors from all over the world who dedicated hours of their time to follow and send emails in to all the broadcast matches. All this added enormously to the enjoyment of following the tournament.
However, today a few players must be mentioned as Heroes. Umar Gul - the bowler of the competition and the main reason why Pakistan made the final. He ended as the leading wicket taker with 13 (ahead of Stuart Clark and Shahid Afridi both with 12).
Imran Nazir absolutely blazed the second over, attacking Sree Santh and setting up the match for nail-biting. That over went for 21!
Gautam Gambhir made 75 off 54 balls in the Indian innings - did that win the match?
R P Singh gave an outstandingly controlled show of bowling, got Gul out at the death - did he win the match?
Tanvir Sohail and Misbah put Pakistan back in the match and while 15 minutes before the end, it looked like India's game as given, we got down to the final over with India needing one wicket and Pakistan 13 to win. A Harmisonesque wide from Joginder Singh was not a good start, but then a dot ball. 12 off six balls. Misbah hit the next - a low full toss - way out of the ground. Six off four. Indian captain, the peerless Mahendra Singh Dhoni put his arm around Joginder's shoulder, whispered sweet nothings in his ear, and with the next ball, Misbah was caught by Sree Santh and it was all over.
India won by five balls and celebrations started everywhere. A cliff-hanger of a match. Cricket is the winner and the last word has to go to an Australian:
"Mate, it's been so much fun to be involved with."
Michael Slater on Test Match Special sums up these past two weeks for most of us.
[Image: Getty] [mimitig]
Stunning, nail-biting final! Twenty20 really came of age today.
Posted by: Zeph | 24 Sep 2007 18:54:19
Fine, fine post perfectly capturing the day.
Posted by: The Tooting Trumpet | 24 Sep 2007 19:39:44
I take issue with "everyone". Those dancers on the boundary edge were a bit too hitman and her for my liking. Everything else was outstanding.
Posted by: bushnumpty | 24 Sep 2007 20:19:03
Couldn't see the dancers on the radio, bush! Have to say though that Geoff rather liked them!
Posted by: mimi | 24 Sep 2007 20:36:20
Bush - "The Hitman and Her"! I used to tape it and watch it hungover on Sunday mornings. It was rare in those days to see properly drunk people on telly (now you can't avoid them). Pete and Michaela were brilliant ("pass the mike!").
I bought Pete Waterman's autobiog in Woollies for £1 - not a work of literature, but very good.
Posted by: The Tooting Trumpet | 24 Sep 2007 21:37:43
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