Tuesday, July 16, 2024

T20 World Cup final: India’s thrilling win gives tournament its Hollywood ending

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Elsewhere others will roll their eyes.

The Rocky theme played at the Kensington Oval when England met USA last week but this was not an underdog story.

India, already the dominant force in the world game, progressed having been the only team to know in advance where their semi-final would be played.

It mattered not, England would have been resoundingly beaten at Lord’s as well as Guyana, but preventing such a scenario again is one of the minor tweaks that could improve the T20 World Cup.

Fixing the draws so India meet Pakistan and England face Australia may boost the coffers but it cheapens the product.

A week could have been taken off this tournament had it progressed straight from the first stage to quarter-finals when also moving solely to the Caribbean. Two group stages are never necessary.

The International Cricket Council should also thank Josh Hazlewood, because had Australia not been spooked by the reaction to his ill-judged words about manipulating their result against Scotland, a farcical situation may have occurred on the field.

But overall this has been the best of the three men’s World Cups, two T20 and one 50-over, that have been squeezed into the past 21 months.

Its biggest success was that it was the first to go truly global – upped to 20 teams.

There may have been one-sided fixtures in the group stage but the presence of Uganda, Papua New Guinea, the USA, Nepal and other smaller nations brought freshness and excitement.

Uganda’s 39 all out or Oman being beaten inside 17 overs by England were negatives but those were resoundingly outweighed by USA’s iconic victory over Pakistan, Papua New Guinea coming close to beating hosts West Indies and Brandon McMullen’s superb performances for Scotland.

It is for those moments as much as the finale that this tournament will be remembered.

In the end, though, it is India’s name that goes up in lights.

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