For the best part I’ve enjoyed the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. But how does one measure an exciting match in cricket? There is a certain one-sidedness that exists in the funny old game’s limited overs formats. For example a 10-run victory appears close but what if the side batting second needed 50 off the last couple of overs? It’s not really that close, is it?
There have been several high run chases at the current showpiece but if one side makes 320 and the other side chases it successfully, even if only in the last over, with 5 wickets in hand then all it really was was a well-paced solid pursuit. A high tally of boundaries is not exciting in my view. The goal should be a fair contest between bat and ball and this era of 300 being 30 runs short of a good score renders bowlers virtually hapless.
How ironic then that in the quest for six-spangled super scores it is New Zealand’s dramatic 1 wicket win over Australia in a low-scoring thriller that is widely regarded as the tournament’s best match to date. The Aussies were all out for 151 and the Kiwis reached the target for the loss of 9 wickets. That was high drama. That was exciting.
Afghanistan’s 1 wicket win with three balls to spare against Scotland was another result worthy of a Blu-Ray. The Scots only posted 210 but made a real fist of it. The crowd received their money’s worth.
That is not to say a high run chase does not provide drama. Ireland’s (331/8) 6-run win over Zimbabwe (325) was compelling viewing. The Irish were involved in another such affair when chasing 279 against the United Arab Emirates and only crossed the line with 4 balls to spare and 8 wickets down.
England was rubbish at this tournament but their 15-run defeat to Bangladesh (275/7) was a good one. You want an intriguing battle where the pendulum swings one way and then the other. The Tigers only wrapped that one up near the end.
These are my top five matches of the group phase and I’m hopeful the knockout rounds will provide more entertainment. To date I rate the 1999 World Cup as my best in terms of exciting encounters and this event has largely delivered considering that many matches in this format are lopsided anyway.
Organisers will undoubtedly pat themselves on the back and label it “the best World Cup ever” which remains a topic of subjectivity but at least it’s not the West Indies in 2007.