I find myself in a pretty much unique situation: wanting to write about cricket.
I suppose the main thing is that the ICC really needs to figure out a better way to decide draws. To be fair, it is pretty rare to get a draw, and then to draw the super over is rubbing it in, but surely you could just have another super over? It would be a lot better than picking an arbitrary statistic. Would people accept something similar to the ICC’s system if it were football? After a drawn penalty shoot out they just picked who had got the most goals overall and awarded the trophy? Or in tennis? After a few match points they just chucked it in and gave it the player who had dropped the fewest games in that match? If we’re going to do that then why have the penalty shoot out/match point/super over in the first place?
The ball hitting the bat and running away for four is fine. I mean, it sucks ass, but stuff like that is partly why sport is so random. It made the whole game hit another level and enter the realm of myth. No one was attempting anything dodgy and the English acted in good faith.
The thing where you draw twice and then get told you lost, though? That’s not so cool. I don’t really think it’s cool for England either. I’m sure they wanted to win it outright by beating their opponent. Now it’s a bit like they “won” the world cup instead of: they won the world cup. Which is crap for them. I’d rather have had the Black Caps fall short by one than the result that was delivered. That way everyone could talk about what an absolute classic it was, and how there was nothing between the teams on the day, but that England had grabbed it at the death. Who’s to say that hitting more boundaries is a sign of a better team? It’s such an arbitrary statistic in a such a subtle and long game that it is idiotic. But I think that would be true of any statistic. I don’t think things would have been improved by picking a different statistic: I think determining that a final will be decided off the field at all is the issue.
It was an amazing match, and I respect both teams for how they played it, and how they are talking about it now, but it’s hard to imagine a more deflating end to the best cricket final ever played. One of the headlines I read said that someone will probably make a movie about that match. Maybe. Hopefully they can change the end though. Let the movie say New Zealand faltered at the end and the English won it at the death. Actually, I think I might start revising history in my head now and remember it that way.
Well done, England.