4 in 40!

The Australian bowlers and fielders were absolutely superb in the final

4 Boundaries hit by India after the completion of the first powerplay. These are the fewest boundaries hit by any team between the 11th and 50th overs in a men's ODI since 2011. Those four boundaries came from KL Rahul (26.2), Suryakumar Yadav (38.6), Mohammed Shami (41.5) and Mohammed Siraj (49.2).

Four boundaries in 40 overs. I bet the crowd must have been shocked with that batting. As one commenter said: it's as quiet as a library! There simply wasn't enough pressure on Australia. Marnus played some shockingly bizarre and needless reverse sweeps in the semi-final and got out LBW but he was in pure cement mode today. Just block every good delivery and take zero risks. Perfectly sensible.

Oh, this is amusing:

Adam Zampa!?

That says a lot about Australia's batting strength. Today, the legendary Adam Zampa bats at number ten. Also, he needs to share the secret about his youthful looks.


World Cup 2023 Final

What I wrote yesterday:

The Aussie bowlers will be important. They must restrict the explosive Indian batsmen. Sharma and Kohli are the two key wickets. The rest haven't been stressed in the last month. Plus, the pressure is on India. They've done great over the past ten years except win the big trophies.

India batted first in their previous four games. Their lowest score was 326/5. Today, at the grandest stage, they managed 240. The Aussie bowlers succeeded. Can their Indian counterparts do better? They got Australia all out for 199 earlier in the tournament. Let's see if they can repeat that magic. The pressure is on!

Rahul: He soaked up too many deliveries. Though, his deep in the wicket late cuts to spinners were impressive. A slight error would have got him bowled but he didn't miss!

Cummins: Not a single boundary from his ten overs. Wow!

The entire Indian team hit 13 fours in 50 overs. Australia is at 117/3 and hit 10 fours in 22 overs. Travis and Marnus are playing a risk-free game. Rotating strike and hitting an odd four if they have the chance. Though, Travis Head has been super lucky. So many close chances where the ball almost kissed the stumps.

Aussies need 106 from 25 overs. India needs wickets! They dominated throughout the tournament. Now, the crowd is getting more quiet as the familiar story of the past decade looks to repeat itself.

Travis Head has hit 14 fours which is more than what all the Indian players managed. That's the story of this final. Gets to his century with a 100+ strike rate! Just give him the Man of the Match award now. Puts his name next to Gilchrist and Ponting.

Travis got the Man of the Match award in the semi-final as well. Writes his name in history. He's now hit more sixes than the entire Indian team. An ocean of tears in India. Of course, the Australian players in the seats are smiling.

Australia wins. History repeats. India lost to Australia in 2003.

Australia beat every other team in this tournament. So did India. India won 10 out of 11 matches. Australia won 9 out of 11. Indians top the charts. Kohli has the most runs. (Man of the tournament!) Shami has the most wickets. Australia has the trophy.

Australia has won 6 out of 13 World Cups. The apex predator of the cricket jungle showcases the harsh reality to billions of heartbroken fans.

India is becoming a more successful version of South Africa. They perform exceptionally well in the earlier stages of global tournaments but can't win the gold. Their big losses:

  • 3 T20 World Cups.
  • 3 ODI World Cups.
  • 2 World Test Championships.
  • That Champions Trophy.

The last time they won an ICC tournament was in 2013. Since then, out of 10 knockout matches (QF, SF, and F), India have managed one win! That would be the recent victory against New Zealand. So, just a few days ago, their failure rate over a decade was 100%. Now, it's down to 90%. Meanwhile Australia, England, Pakistan, and New Zealand have added to their trophy collection.


Titans clash

It's a rare final where the Aussies start as the underdogs:

It feels like a lifetime has passed since their first encounter in this tournament. Having called that game the final before the final before it was played, I was feeling sheepish within a week as Australia, after two resounding losses, appeared underprepared and undercooked and unsure about their best XI.

And then, Australia went on to win eight matches in a row. They'll meet India who have ten consecutive wins in this tournament. It should be a hard fought final. The Aussie bowlers will be important. They must restrict the explosive Indian batsmen. Sharma and Kohli are the two key wickets. The rest haven't been stressed in the last month. Plus, the pressure is on India. They've done great over the past ten years except win the big trophies.

India and Australia, two vastly contrasting nations, two of cricket's powerhouses, who have built the fiercest, most competitive, most absorbing rivalry of this century, which has produced some of the greatest matches in recent memory, and are, equally crucially, the most successful teams at the ODI World Cup over time, feel like the worthiest claimants for this edition's prize. India have looked invincible so far, but winning titles is in Australia's DNA.


20 Years Later

India will once again face the mighty Australians in a World Cup final. Though, this time, India are definitely the stronger team, and with tremendous crowd support. If India wins, then they will have done something that I don't recall in ODIs: beating Australia twice in such a global tournament! Though, if Australia pull through, then they would beaten every single team in this big event.

South Africa have a positive win loss record against the Aussies but have never beaten them in a knockout game at a World Cup. It's an astonishing stat: South Africa have never made it to a final.

In contrast, the Aussies have a staggering pedigree at World Cups:

  • 1987: Champions
  • 1992: No final
  • 1996: Final lost
  • 1999: Champions
  • 2003: Champions
  • 2007: Champions
  • 2011: No final
  • 2015: Champions
  • 2019: No final
  • 2023: Final on Sunday.

India face the toughest opponent in the final. It should be fun!


2019 Semi-final rematch

India vs. New Zealand. Rohit Sharma had an unbelievable World Cup four years ago. He smashed five centuries in that tournament but then faced the Pythons the Kiwis in the semi-final. Now, India will face them again with the roar of a billion people behind them. Will India succumb to the intense pressure again or will the under-rated Kiwis make it to their third straight final?

My heart wants a New Zealand vs. South Africa final. These two teams have fought hard. Plus, we'll get a completely new World Champion. But my mind knows that the two strongest teams are India and Australia. Let's see.

Oh, and this made me laugh:


Maximum Aussie

No other Australian has played an ODI innings that comes close to this.

He couldn't even use his feet well at the end! He had bowled ten overs and taken a wicket earlier in suffocating heat. How could he conjure up such immense power and breathtaking timing? He had some close chances. Fortune favors the bold!

The fact that his very last shot got him to his unbelievable double century, won the match, and guarantees that his team is in the World Cup semi-finals makes this one of the greatest innings of all time.

Anyway, is Marcus Stoinis retarded? The guy made that ridiculous "catch" that bounced off the ground between his hands and then played an insane reverse sweep when his team needed zero-risk accumulation.


Fakhar Zaman stands tall

What's the most sixes any Pakistani batsman had scored in an entire World Cup tournament before today?
Nine.

Zaman smashed eleven in one match today! Really, he had little choice when chasing 402. Babar always bats conservatively, Zaman had to go super nova for Pakistan to win.

Fakhar hit more sixes in the one innings today than any Pakistani batter has through an entire World Cup campaign. This one, meanwhile, will blow your mind all over again. Shahid Afridi is Pakistan's most celebrated six-hitter, right? Until today, no Pakistani had hit more sixes in World Cups than him. He hit 12 across five World Cups and 16 years; Fakhar hit 11 today in comfortably under two hours. He hit as many sixes today as Imam-ul-Haq, the man he replaced in the last game, hit in his last 24 ODI innings.

Shahid Afridi hit 12 sixes in 5 global tournaments. Zaman has hit 18 in just two matches in this World Cup. Absurd!

If you tack on the sixes from the Bangladesh game to today's, he's hit nearly a third of the sixes he had hit in his entire ODI career in just the last two innings (18 in the last two and 56 before). In powerplays, he's hit nearly half (six in the last two and 14 before).

Let's hope the rich form continues. Their last group match is against the most humiliated team of the tournament who also happen to be the current World champions. Pakistan do have a certain history of beating New Zealand and England ...

Let's see if it plays out like 1992 or 2019.


NZ vs. PAK

On October 20, I wrote:

Sixes by Australia: 19
Sixes by Pakistan: 6
Difference of runs: 78
Margin of defeat: 62 runs

Today's match is at the same ground.

Sixes scored by the entire New Zealand team: 8
Sixes scored by just Fakhar Zaman (so far!): 11

Those risks paid off for Australia and now Zaman is cashing in. In addition to being the only Pakistani double-centurion, he's now the fastest to a century (in a World Cup match). Babar is the number one ODI batsman in the world for his reliability but Fakhar is definitely far more dangerous. The guy is a champion. Ask India 2017.

Rain is ruining the match for the Kiwis as Pakistan is ahead on DLS. It's shortened to 41 overs. Pakistan have to chase 182 in 19.3 overs. It's, now, a T20 chase with 9 wickets in hand.

Damn, rain again. The New Zealand batsmen must be shocked. They scored an epic 401. It's their best collective batting performance of all time and that too in a World Cup.

Yet, at the moment, they're losing!

Game over. Pakistan scored 200/1  in 25.3 overs chasing 402. They win by 21 runs; DLS method. Only the second time in history a team has lost a match after smashing over 400 runs. Ponting's Australia knows how that feels.

Fakhar Zaman, of course, and again, is the Man of the Match.


World Cup 2023

A few amazing stats:

50 Balls needed for Kevin O'Brien for his century against England in 2011, the fastest in men's ODI World Cup until the 2023 edition. His record was bettered twice in the tournament - first by Aiden Markram with a 49-ball hundred against Sri Lanka, and then by Glenn Maxwell, who got a century off 40 balls at the same venue against Netherlands. Six of the top ten fastest ODI World Cup hundreds have come in this edition itself.

That's the most astonishing part of this World Cup: the absolute ferocity of the centurions. Imagine, if England didn't implode in this World Cup, we would seen even more centuries from their formidable batsmen.


The gulf between two finalists

Yesterday, Australia smashed 388 runs. New Zealand take the game to the very last delivery. They scored 383! That's the most incredible chase for a team that ended up losing. It shows why the Kiwis made the last two World Cup finals.

Today, India scored 229 runs. That's a solid T20 score. England should have chased that with plenty of overs to spare. Instead, the World Champions lost by an unbelievable 100 runs! Root and Stokes, the two rocks, scored a combined zero. Forget fighting for a semi-final spot, they're officially the worst team in the entire tournament.

That difference between the chases by England and New Zealand is stunning.

The likely semi-finalists: India, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. There's potential for drama as a few other teams like Pakistan can bump into the top four but that'll require a series of convincing wins.


More misery for England

The World Champions have lost four out of five matches.

The light at the end of the tunnel was a train. England have spent the last four weeks travelling around India talking about responding to setbacks and awaiting the statement performance that has never arrived. If their defeats to New Zealand, Afghanistan and South Africa were bad, this might have been the worst of the lot.

Ben "The Legend" Stokes top-scored but nobody really provided a decent partnership. The sad thing is that these aren't hard fought victories for the opposition. England is imploding again and again and again. They definitely have the batting firepower but it's simply not clicking.

Their next match is against the only undefeated team of the tournament.


Humiliation

I would have gladly bet against anyone who told me that the World Champions would be ranked dead last half-way through the tournament.

England dead last

Technically, Pakistan or England have a small chance of making the semi-finals by winning all of their remaining matches. However, they both can't make it together because they'll face each other next month. Given their miserable form, it's highly likely that the semi-finalists will be India, New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia. 

A New Zealand vs. South Africa final would be spectacular as we would get a totally new World Champion. The Kiwis will have definitely earned that one.


A shocking annihilation

England won the ODI World Cup in 2019. They won the T20I World Cup last year. Now, it looks like they'll be crashing out of the current one. Chasing 400 runs against South Africa, they're at 68/6! Every single batsman failed to stick around. It's likely that they'll lose by a margin of 250-300 runs. Forget World Champions, I haven't seen minnows being crushed in this manner.

What makes this surreal is that South Africa lost to the Netherlands a few days ago!

England will have to win all of their remaining five matches to have a shot at making the semi-finals. No pressure.

Update
England lost by 229 runs. Their worst defeat in history.


Warner ignites

The absolutely murderous opening partnership was enough for Australia. The only tiny negative for them is that they didn't smash over 400 runs. Pakistan did fight but they needed an individual century or two to chase this down. Azam's shot straight to the captain wasn't smart. Also, their lack of big hits made the difference.

Sixes by Australia: 19
Sixes by Pakistan: 6
Difference of runs: 78
Margin of defeat: 62 runs


World Champions crumble

A historic day for Afghanistan cricket:

Afghanistan claimed the most famous scalp of their international history, and in the process provided the first big shock of the 2023 World Cup, by routing England's world champions by 69 runs in a spin-and-seam masterclass under the Delhi floodlights.

Their dominance was set in motion by a fearless display of power-hitting from the 21-year-old Rahmanullah Gurbaz, whose 80 from 57 had promised so much more until a run-out sawed him off in his prime. But Ikram Alikhil marshalled Afghanistan's lower-order with a precious half-century on his World Cup debut, whereupon they set about making a target of 285 seem as dim and distant as England's hopes of defending their title must now feel.

Plus, the team that has the grandest history in World Cups is currently at the bottom of the table! If things don't turn around, then for only the second time both Australia and England won't make it to the semi-finals.


India dominate

The top four Pakistani players scored 155 and got out. The rest managed 32 runs! It would have been a pretty decent T20I total.

Sharma hit six sixes which was six more than what the opposition managed. Game over.

India, New Zealand, and South Africa are almost locked in for the semi-finals. England, Australia, and Pakistan will have to fight it out for the fourth spot. It would be bonkers if we got an India-Pakistan final.


India vs. Pakistan

On Saturday, Ahmedabad won't just be the epicentre of Indian cricket, but world cricket, with 132,000 people - a decent chunk being celebrities, industrialists, politicians, friends of politicians and, of course, cricket administrators - congregating at what they say is the world's biggest cricket stadium to witness a match that makes the cricket economy - bilateral non-relations notwithstanding.

No other team in cricket history will have a louder crowd than what India will get in nine hours. They, of course, start as strong favorites. The famous Pakistani bowling has to show up for them to have a chance at an upset. Afridi and Rauf will have to make the breakthroughs. Also, the winner of this match will definitely make the semi-finals.


So surreal

Nobody defeated Australia in the 2003 and 2007 tournaments. Nobody has won more World Cups than Australia. Yet, somehow, today, South Africa crushed them by 134 runs. They've lost two matches in a row. It's not that they're horrible. Just that the rest of the world has upped the game.

Poor Aussies

The competition for the semi-final spots just got more intense between the six:

  1. England
  2. India
  3. Australia
  4. New Zealand
  5. Pakistan
  6. South Africa

8-0

The highest successful run chase in World Cup history. The two impressive Sri Lankan centurions scored 230 runs from 166 deliveries. The rest of the team? 100 runs! Sri Lanka was 283/4 with 10 overs to go. Forget 400, they couldn't crack 350. Worse, their bowlers didn't really trouble the batsmen. One shudders to think about how ruthlessly England and Australia are going to treat them in the coming weeks.

Both of them have won a World Cup each. They have played eight completed ODI games in the global tournament. Strangely, Pakistan have won all of them.

The biggest loser of the match? Fakhar Zaman.


The pressure is just starting

The South Africans begin their World Cup campaign with a bang!

There are ten teams but really only six are fighting for the semi-final spots:

  1. England
  2. India
  3. Australia
  4. New Zealand
  5. Pakistan
  6. South Africa

The problem for South Africa is that they don't have a dynamite bowling attack. It would be very interesting to see how they manage against the batsmen from England in two weeks. And let's not even mention the C-word ...


Payback for 2019

Revenge for the final of the 2019 World Cup was never going to come in the first match of the 2023 edition. But a nine-wicket demolition of England in the Ahmedabad curtain-raiser will have provided New Zealand ample satisfaction. The defending champions have been battered, comprehensively, wearing what might end up being one of the most emphatic beatings of the tournament.

Quite shocking, really. England's bowlers simply couldn't take wickets. The two New Zealand batsmen dominated to such an extent that even a score of 382 would have been not enough from England.

New Zealand has been a very strong ODI team for many years. They made it to two World Cup finals but couldn't win the trophy. If history is any guide, their match against Pakistan will be very interesting. Often, the Kiwis go in with a red hot winning streak and the Pakis end the party.


No bonding for you!

Your classic sibling fight:

The ICC has confirmed that the Indian government has approved visas for the Pakistan squad travelling to the World Cup, less than 48 hours before the team is due to fly out to Hyderabad via Dubai. The approval came on Monday, hours after the PCB had written to the ICC expressing its displeasure at the delay in the issuance of the visas. At the time they had sent the email, approval for the visas had not been given.

But the delay had already caused the Pakistan team to cancel plans for a pre-World Cup team bonding trip to the UAE.

The Indian government was simply delaying the visas to ruffle some feathers. They're not going to say NO to hundreds of millions of dollars and damage the grand tournament by denying a former title holder. They got the Pakis to cry a little and then promptly stamped the passports.


Horrow show in Colombo

I read 50 and thought that Sri Lanka was still going for the loss of zero wickets and then I noticed that ... the Indians were batting!

Right now, 44 overs left and the required run rate is 0.02. India needs 1 run from 44 overs. Man, what a humiliation. Five Sri Lankans got out for ducks; two were golden. Can't even think of another final in cricket history where one team crashed and burned like this.


Doesn't get much closer

252/7 followed by 252/8. 42 overs each! What a game! The Sri Lankans fans certainly got their entertainment tonight.

Pakistan lost to both India and Sri Lanka who will meet in the final. This shouldn't hurt them as much as the last World Cup in which they beat England and New Zealand and then got knocked out to watch the epic final match between ... England and New Zealand.

To be fair, in the Sri Lanka game, they couldn't play two of their main fast bowlers which likely tipped the balance in such a spectacularly close game. Hopefully, all the main players are fit for the World Cup. Just like four years ago, England, Australia, India, Pakistan, and New Zealand are the top sides to watch.


The Legend

Ben Stokes is ready to defend the World Cup title:

182 Ben Stokes' score against New Zealand is now the highest for England in ODI cricket, surpassing Jason Roy's 180 against Australia in 2018 at the MCG.

It says a lot about their bench strength when Roy's place in the team is not guaranteed! Their current batting line-up is extraordinary: Bairstow, Malan, Root, Stokes, Buttler, and Livingstone! They are followed by Ali, Curran, and Woakes who can also smash a few runs. Imagine if they all fired in a single match. We could see 500 runs in an ODI!


There is no equality

2020: This year’s Women’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia amassed a global unique audience of 89 million, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has revealed.

2022: The International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced that the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 saw 6.58 billion video views across all ICC platforms, surpassing the Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 record by 65% and making it the most digitally engaged ICC event ever. [...] From a broadcast perspective, the overall cumulative global dedicated TV audience for Australia 2022 was 1.28 billion.

No matter how you slice it, men's cricket attracts an audience that is an order of magnitude greater than that of women's cricket.

2023:

Going forward winning a World Cup in men's or women's cricket will come with the same prize money. In a massive leg-up for the women's game, the ICC announced equal prize money for both men's and women's events today, following its annual conference in Durban. The decision includes Under-19 World Cups too.

What an absolute fucking joke.


Ben Stokes is mortal

Nobody in over 2,500 Test matches had done this before:

0 No player had scored more than 150 runs in the fourth innings of a Test match while batting at No. 6 and lower, before Ben Stokes' 155 at Lord's on Sunday. The previous highest was an unbeaten 149 by Adam Gilchrist against Pakistan in the 1999 Hobart Test.

Stokes smashed 8 sixes in his epic in 2019. Today, he surpassed that craziness:

9 The number of sixes hit by Stokes during his 155 - the most by a player in an innings in the Ashes. He surpassed his record of eight sixes during his match-winning effort at Leeds, in 2019. Stokes is now also the leading six-hitter of the Ashes with 33 hits, going past Kevin Pietersen's 24.

Stokes broke multiple records but he had too much left to do. With the exception of Ben Duckett and the tenacious Broad, the team didn't build partnerships.

Let's see if this crew is capable of winning from 0-2 in this grand Ashes. Stokes will then have his name next to Bradman.


Aussie efficiency

The Aussies win, of course:

India fought hard for six sessions starting with the third day to give themselves some hope on the final day, but Australia finally broke the resistance to win the World Test Championship for the first time. Twice runners-up now, India have beaten Australia in the last four Test series between them - two in India, two in Australia - but Australia were the superior side in the conditions in England, where they will now play The Ashes against the hosts.

It has become so predictable. Australia shows up for the big games. Their gold collection is quite unique:

This was Australia's ninth ICC title, making them the only team to have won at least one of each trophy: five ODI World Cups, two ODI Champions Trophies, one T20 World Cup, and now the World Test Championship.

India, on the flip side, just can't seem to win the title in big tournaments. Their last big win was ten years ago!


Two great innings of our time

Perera's 153, Laxman's 281 or Stokes' 135 - which is the best Test batting performance of all time?

Laxman's 281 is legendary. He beat the team that had won 16 matches in a row. His pesky defiance was so exhausting for the Aussies that they ended up losing their next match and thus the series. There's only one thing that could have made Laxman's innings even greater: he played it in Australia.

Laxman in 2001 accumulated in a responsible manner but Stokes in 2019 was pure madness. He wasn't interested in a draw. He was hitting sixes! Winning the ODI World Cup wasn't enough. Stokes had to write his name in the Test record books as well. The mighty Aussies were, again, the losers.

Laxman beats Stokes in the historical context. However, nothing tops the entertainment value of Stokes crushing the spirits of Aussie bowlers on that sunny day. Nathan Lyon wishes he could forget that not out.


Imran Khan didn't kill himself

It's never boring in Pakistan:

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered the immediate release of Imran Khan, the former Pakistan cricketer and Prime Minister, from custody after declaring his arrest "unlawful" on Thursday. The Chief Justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court, Umar Ata Bandial, ordered Imran's immediate release after the warrants through which he was arrested in Islamabad on Tuesday were also declared null and void.

One part dangerous and one part incompetence:

"They want to either arrest or disqualify me because they are scared [of the fact] that my party is one of the most popular in Pakistan's history," Imran Khan had told Al Jazeera in March, as attempts to arrest him from his residence in Lahore were underway. Last November, Imran suffered bullet wounds to his leg after an assassination attempt while he was leading a protest march in Wazirabad in Punjab.


Gearing up for the World Cup

After a somewhat off-colour performance where Pakistan allowed New Zealand to get close to them, this was back to business for the hosts. A century from Babar Azam - his 18th in ODIs - helped Pakistan post an intimidating 334 for 6 after being put in to bat.

It was then up to the bowlers, who were at their ruthless best, to shut New Zealand out. The game as a contest was over well before the final wicket fell and New Zealand folded for 232, putting Pakistan up 4-0 in the five-match series and at the top of the ICC rankings for ODI teams in the process.

The Kiwis fought well in the T20I series. They were down 2-0 but finished with two strong wins but, now, they can't even get close in the ODI series. A 100+ run defeat is quite the thrashing.

Wasim and Shaheen remedied, plundering 38 off the final two overs, also making compelling cases to bat higher up. The four sixes and two fours between them meant they had done enough to break New Zealand's spirits. In reality, Pakistan's bowling demonstrated the Afridi-Wasim cameos merely added flourish to what was a near-guaranteed victory anyway.

What? The author mixed up the two Mohammads. It wasn't Mohammad Wasim but Mohammad Haris who was part of the duo.

Anyway, the World Cup stage is set for the top four teams who are practically equal. Pakistan has 113 points whereas the World Champions are ranked as fourth best with "only" 111 points. I expect to see them -- Pakistan, India, Australia, and England -- in the semi-finals. The Kiwis are, of course, the dark horse.


Zaman in the zone

Two days ago: Pakistan chased 288 in 48.3 overs. Zaman hit 117.

Today: Pakistan chase 336 in 48.2 overs. Zaman smashes 180 not out.

Anything under 350 from the Kiwis isn't a threat for this team.

Zaman has come a long way from his Champions Trophy triumph in 2017. The heir to Saeed Anwar has scored three consecutive centuries in ODIs. He has scored almost 300 runs in two ODI games with three left to go in the series. He'll be an important part of the top order in the upcoming World Cup.

Zaman, Haq, Azam, and Rizwan should be a big threat in the grand tournament. Add in Iftikhar, Shadab, Shaheen, Naseem, and Rauf and they have a not-too-shabby bowling unit.


Absolute carnage

Two days ago:

West Indies 258/5
South Africa 259/4

These would have been decent scores for an ODI game two decades ago. The South Africans smashed those 259 runs in 18.5 overs!

In total, 517 runs were scored, the most in a T20 game, including 35 sixes, the most in a T20 international and two fewer than the most in any T20 match.

One has to feel sorry for the bowlers. Their batsmen made the highest T20I score in history and the record was broken in about one hour. Reminds me of that incredible ODI between Australia and South Africa. The Aussies made the highest ODI score in history ... and then lost a few hours later.

The South Africans rarely win tournaments but they can never be discounted in a single match. True to their spirit, they lost today; thus, losing the series 2-1.


Kiwis make history

I was a little surprised when Ben Stokes enforced the follow on. Giving the bowlers a little rest and setting a mammoth target of 500 runs in the fourth innings would have been safer. Regardless, the Kiwis fought hard and flipped the result of the 2019 World Cup final.

1 Margin of New Zealand's win by runs in Wellington, the joint-narrowest win recorded in Test cricket. West Indies also won by one run against Australia in the 1993 Adelaide Test while defending a target of 186.

4 Instances of a team winning after following on in a Test match, including New Zealand's win against England in Wellington. All the previous instances came against Australia - twice by England (Sydney 1894 and Leeds 1981) and India in Kolkata in 2001.

Ben Stokes certainly didn't make a foolish decision.

0 Number of times England lost a Test match out of the 177 instances where they took a 200-plus runs first-innings lead before their defeat at the Basin Reserve. The previous highest first-innings lead resulting in a loss for England was 177 runs against Australia in 1961 at Old Trafford.

What a incredible game for Kane Williamson. He becomes the #1 scoring batsman from his country, beats England, and wins the Man of the Match award!


World record train wreck

All one can do is laugh: 00302110041 3.

15 all out. Damn. What makes this even more shocking is that the opener was part of the team that won the World Cup last month. This isn't some high school team that got slaughtered. These are elite players!

Anyway, they were so close. So close to having extras as the top scorer! If only the number 10 "batsman" hadn't smashed that one boundary!

Update
Test between Australia and West Indies. Australia needed 34 runs in the fourth innings. They got them. Extras? 19. Yup, more than everyone else combined! That's just silly.