piyush kaviraj

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The Home Advantage

So finally, it was a cousinly clash in the finals of World Cup 2015. Who would have expected such a final after the start the famed tournament got! India, the defending champions seemed to relish a losing streak till their first match in the world cup. Australia was clearly not at their best. England was not so bad while Bangladesh were never in the reckoning. But the league stage did chip in interesting games, with teams like West Indies and Pakistan losing to minnows and England crashing out with a thud, while India and New Zealand romped into the knockouts like stalwarts.

The quarterfinals had the teenagers of cricket, Bangladesh along with the forever ‘favorites’ South Africa, and the rest of the expected favorites. Pakistan, shouldering the weights of non-performing elderly exited with an expected loss to Australia. Sri Lanka were overpowered by South Africa, West Indies were more than humbled by New Zealand while India got better of her daughter nation Bangladesh.

The Semis had undoubtedly the best teams for this edition of World Cup in- India, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. India was, now the favorites of the entire South-Asian subcontinent and had risen in ranks among the bookies of the world. Indian media had already declared India as the finalist and probably the champions. Australia, the crown bearers for the most number of times, with the confidence of not losing any of the semifinals and support of the home crowd couldn’t have asked for less. They accepted the challenge and inched towards the cup in style. South Africa still continuing with the rainy affairs and their not-so-worth monster-in-laws, Duckworth and Lewis, somehow yielded to them once again, though this can’t take away the credit from the New Zealand of their brilliant run-chase. They along with millions bid a teary adieu to the world cup. Finally, the dark horse of all times entered the finals with their black caps firm in their high-held heads. New Zealand entered the finals, chasing a dream run, without losing a single match. That was a splendid performance and now, everyone (except the Australian fans, of course) wanted the Kiwis to win.

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And now, it was the Sunday finals for the two host nations. The Australian-New Zealand cricket-rivalry added another dimension to this match. The team which doesn’t succumb to this enormous pressure would prevail and be crowned. The historic match began with New Zealand winning the toss and electing to bat. The decision seemed to backfire initially as they were bundled out for a paltry 183. Clearly, the Kiwis fumbled in the first innings and would be ruing. The score of 183 is by the way historic as this was the score in the 1983 world cup when India lifted the trophy. The second innings could be one-sided or a thriller, depending on how Australia would play. New Zealand seemed clueless against Australians, unlike the league match, and helplessly saw Australia reaching 50, then 100, and finally kiss the trophy.

The world cup saw records tumbling, giving way to new ones and sensational bowling spells enthralling the audience. A double of double hundreds and a quadruple of centuries were the highlights. The giant West Indian hit a row of sixes, contributing to a total of about 500 sixes in this world cup. Wahab Riaz making Watson toil hard to endure his spell was a sight to see. Many a players ended their journey of cricket, enriching the cricket with their handsome contributions. A jubilant Australia is now the title holder for the most number of times. Better luck to all other cricketing nations, especially New Zealand and South Africa, for the next edition of the World Cup.

Piyush Kaviraj

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