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Rains played spoilsport in the World Cup 2019. There were some bright moments too. India dominated Pakistan and defeated Australia, reports Vijayhardik, exclusively for Different Truths.
In the Old Blighty, the weather is always a fickle proposition. It goes through many a tantrum in a single day. It circulates from a sunny and cheerful disposition to becoming dull and cloudy. It traverses from blowing hot and cold to bring the rains down thundering. With such diverse weather patterns in a single day, it is a challenge to host events.
Braving it all, the ICC World Cup 2019 is underway here.
Even before the tournament began, there were questions at the back of everyone’s mind about how the weather would hold up.
Even before the tournament began, there were questions at the back of everyone’s mind about how the weather would hold up. It became a question of probability. If the World Cup was lucky enough, rains would stay away during the event. If not, the cricketing fans were in for a treat to watch the weather patterns of the United Kingdom.
After the first couple of weeks of the World Cup, the cricketing fraternity was rejoicing at the fact that rain had not made its presence felt during the matches. It allowed people across the world to be witness to some great games of cricket and see history being made at the 2019 World Cup.
Then the rains descended upon the ICC World Cup.
Four encounters, which were expected to be nail-biting thrillers, got sacrificed on the altar of rain.
Four encounters, which were expected to be nail-biting thrillers, got sacrificed on the altar of rain. With so many games being washed away, the current edition of the World Cup got itself into the record books for the wrong reasons. In the history of Cricket World Cup, no more than two matches were abandoned due to rain in a single tournament. But the tally for 2019 already stands at four!
Let us have a look at those promising encounters which got called off.
With a history of Sri Lanka-Pakistan clashes at the World Cup tilted in favour of Pakistan, it would have made for an exciting watch.
The first on the chopping block was the first Asian heavyweight bout between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Coming into the match with victories of contrasting fashion, Pakistan was looking forward to continuing from where they left off against England; while Sri Lanka was searching for firmer footing. With a history of Sri Lanka-Pakistan clashes at the World Cup tilted in favour of Pakistan, it would have made for an exciting watch.
In the second game where intervened, it robbed the teams of redemption and hope. South Africa after having lost their initial matches was hoping for an opportunity to redeem themselves and their world cup campaign. West Indies after showing glimpses of brilliance were hoping the revival of the Caribbean dreams at the World Cup. They seemed on course with South Africa reduced to 29/2 before the rain came hurtling down and doused those hopes.
Sri Lanka at World Cup 2019 has not had favourable weather conditions. After its game against Pakistan was washed out, they were hoping to get their show on the road with a win against tricky Bangladesh. The match had all the ingredients which would have made every cricket lover salivate!
With New Zealand scoring a victory over India in the warm-up matches, it was India’s turn to prove a point.
And here comes the biggie! The match between title contenders New Zealand and India had everyone pumped. These were the two teams which were unbeaten till then. With New Zealand scoring a victory over India in the warm-up matches, it was India’s turn to prove a point. It had excitement written all over it, but the rain gods did not deem us worthy of such excitement.
When the weather permitted there have been exciting run-fests backed up by exceptional bowling.
While the rains hung over like Sword of Damocles, which has cast a dark cloud over the weather forecast, there has been a silver lining to the issue. When the weather permitted there have been exciting run-fests backed up by exceptional bowling.
During this period there have been some high-profile games which have set the stage alight and offered the fans a respite from viewing the English weather. India, Pakistan and Australia featured heavily in these encounters. The Asian teams were just beginning to make their presence felt.
With the recent rivalry between India and Australia, the game between the teams was a marquee match.
First up it was lined up against India. With the recent rivalry between India and Australia, the game between the teams was a marquee match. Kohli for a change ended up on the right side of the toss at the Oval and decided that India would bat first. India put in a powerful batting performance led by a gritty Shikhar Dhawan who hit a magnificent century. Virat Kohli and other batsmen built the Indian innings upon it and propelled India to a mighty 353/5.
In response, the Australian batsmen approached the run chase in an unusually tepid manner. Though they seemed to look threatening at times, they lacked the intent. But always seemed to be in the hunt. The game was evenly poised at 202/3 in the 37th over. But a flurry of wickets took the game out of Australia’s reach. Even a gutsy Alex Carey cameo was not enough to take them over the line.
Australia was ready to get back to winning ways after the defeat at the hands of India.
Australia’s next was against Pakistan. Pakistan which is known for its unpredictability on the field was a formidable opponent. Australia was ready to get back to winning ways after the defeat at the hands of India.
After Pakistan put Australia in to bat, the opening pair of Warner and Finch aided by some poor bowling and sloppy fielding saw them weather the initial burst of fast bowling and score quick runs. In a commanding position at 220/2 in the 34th over, Australia looked on course for a total in excess of 350. A bunch of mistakes from there on led to a batting collapse and saw Australia end up with 307 in 49 overs.
Pakistan was finally bowled out for 266 giving Australia a 41-run victory.
Pakistan was going about the run chase in accordance with their set template. An early wicket saw Pakistan batting mainstay Babar Azam team with opener Imam ul Haq and lay the groundwork for a Pakistani win. As unpredictable they are, there is an iota of predictability in how they win or lose matches. Against Australia, they lost their middle order to stutter at 160/6. From there on it was just a matter of the inevitable of when would the Pakistani innings fold. Pakistan was finally bowled out for 266 giving Australia a 41-run victory.
The final game of Australia before the mother of all clashes India against Pakistan was to unfold was against Sri Lanka. A game dominated by the batting brilliance of the top order and gutsy fast bowling, Australia after being put into bat piled up the misery for the Lankan bowlers courtesy of a brilliant 153 from Aaron Finch before some brilliant death bowling from Malinga and Udana restricted them to 334/7.
… after the loss of their batting lynchpin the Sri Lankan innings fell like a pack of cards. Australia won the match by 87 runs bowling Sri Lanka out for 247.
Sri Lanka got off to a blazing start with their openers Karunaratne and Kusal Perera providing them the required impetus. A Sri Lankan win was a reality at this stage and a major upset was on the cards. As it happened in the Australian innings, after the loss of their batting lynchpin the Sri Lankan innings fell like a pack of cards. Australia won the match by 87 runs bowling Sri Lanka out for 247.
Next was the match, which was awaited by more than a billion people with bated breath. India was taking on Pakistan at Manchester. The political turmoil between the countries gets the emotions of the fans going. Victory in the match is a badge of honour for the fans.
With an unblemished record against Pakistan in the World Cup, it was added pressure on Virat Kohli and team to keep the record of staying undefeated intact.
In the crucial encounter, Pakistan won the toss and sent in India to bat. India went about their business without much fuss.
In the crucial encounter, Pakistan won the toss and sent in India to bat. India went about their business without much fuss. According to the game plan which has been on display throughout the tournament, the openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma saw off new ball and set India up for a huge total.
A magnificent 140 from Rohit Sharma and contributions from other batsmen saw India put up 336 on the board. The run chase was continually interrupted by showers. But before, rain decided to make its presence felt Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman put on 104 for the 2nd wicket before being castled by Kuldeep Yadav. After their dismissals, the batting unit Pakistan once again succumbed to pressure and were tottering at 160/6.
Pakistan had to chase 140 odd runs in 5 overs which guaranteed an Indian victory. India wrapped up the proceedings registering an 89-run victory over Pakistan.
An improbable chase was made impossible after the rain break. While the target was reduced to 302, Pakistan had to chase 140 odd runs in 5 overs which guaranteed an Indian victory. India wrapped up the proceedings registering an 89-run victory over Pakistan.
While these games gave the cricket fans something to cheer for in a melancholic week, the rains have had a decent impact shaping up the World Cup. I believe the washed-out games have robbed the teams in the bottom half of the table to present their case at the World Cup and have already decided the semi-finalists.
Photos sourced by the author from the Internet