We’ve seen many closely contested matches that did go down to the absolute wire, matches where there was nothing separating the two teams that were pulling off cricketing stints of their lives. At the same time, while there has been elation in one camp, there’s been despair in the other.
To add to the fervour, some of the greatest spectacles have been seen in the grand finale of the tournaments, adding all the more value and context to it. Given what’s at stake, we’ve seen players giving it everything to end up on the right side of the result.
Here’s a look at the five most thrilling finals in 2019:
1. World Cup Final
The 2019 Cricket World Cup Final was played at Lord’s in London, England, on 14 July 2019. It was contested by the runners-up from the previous tournament, New Zealand, and the host nation, England. It was the fifth time that Lord’s hosted the Cricket World Cup Final, the most by any ground.
The two teams were tied on 241 runs at the end of the match, resulting in a Super Over being played to break the tie. On the final ball of New Zealand’s Super Over, after equalling the 15 runs, England managed in their over, Martin Guptill attempted to score the winning run but was run out by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, meaning the Super Over was also tied. England won on the boundary count rule, having scored 26 boundaries to New Zealand’s 17, thus becoming Cricket World Cup winners for the first time.
It was the first time a One Day International match required a Super Over, and subsequently the first time it had been decided by a boundary count. The match has been described as one of the greatest and most dramatic in the history of the sport, with some analysts describing it as the greatest match in the history of one-day cricket.
2. IPL Final
The 2019 Indian Premier League Final was a Twenty20 cricket match played between Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians on 12 May 2019 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad.
It was the culmination of the 2019 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), an annual Twenty20 tournament held in India. Mumbai won the match by a single run and claimed their fourth Indian Premier League title.
Even though there has been an unprecedented dominance that the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings enjoys over all other IPL teams in the cash-rich tournament, the men in yellow have had the wood against Mumbai Indians. The final that would determine the most successful IPL team went the Mumbai way, but not before Chennai had come agonizingly close.
3. Global T20 Canada Final
The 2019 Global T20 Canada was the second edition of the Global T20 Canada, a 20-over cricket tournament, played at the CAA Centre, Brampton, Ontario. It started on 25 July 2019 and concluded with the final on 11 August. Vancouver Knights had won the first edition of the tournament. They looked all set to repeat it with a second successive win but in their way stood Winnipeg Hawks, who’d had a wonderful run leading up to the final against the defending champions.
After being put to bat, Winnipeg Hawks reached 192 for 8 in their allotted twenty overs. Shaiman Anwar, the eventual man of the match top-scored with an explosive 45 ball-90. At one point, the Hawks looked promising to put up a score in excess of 200 but thanks to one man in the Vancouver Knights camp, who did it all for them.
Andre Russell scalped four wickets and then later in the evening almost won it for his team, single-handedly with the willow in his hand. He was there everywhere, did the batting in the Super Over, did the bowling as well. But it wasn’t enough, and many would debate rightly so. In the end, we’d witnessed a game of cricket of the highest quality and it was good to see the Hawks winning it, even though Andre Russell threatened to be their worst nightmare.
4. T20 Blast Final
Simon Harmer, in his first campaign as T20 leader having taken over from Ryan ten Doeschate, starred in what would be a match remembered for a long time to come. “We didn’t get off to a great start, four rained off games and a lot of us people wrote us off. But here we stand” – These were the words of the South African after he’d helped his team cross the line in the final match against the Moeen Ali-led side of Worcestershire.
“I don’t think you could have scripted it better,” he said having recorded the best-combined figures by any bowler at Finals Day since the competition’s inception in 2003. “To come here, with the wicket turning like that, I couldn’t have asked for a better day personally and for the group of guys down in the changing rooms.”
Essex were not far off down and out late on in the group stages of the competition. They had won only two of their first 10 games before winning three of their last four to finish fourth in the South Group.
They then beat Lancashire in the quarter-finals at Durham, successfully defended a total of 161 to overcome Derbyshire and squeaked home against Worcester as they chased 146, needing 12 off the last over and two off the last ball bowled by Harmer’s compatriot Wayne Parnell. When he came to the crease Essex were 129 for six, needing 17 off eight balls, and he struck 18 not out off seven, including cutting the last ball for four.
5. SLC Twenty20 Tournament Final
The 2019 SLC Twenty20 Tournament was held in Sri Lanka. It was played between twenty four domestic teams in Sri Lanka, with the tournament running from 15 to 27 February 2019. The final was played between the Nondescripts Cricket Club (NCC) and the Moors Club.
The match was a complete see-saw as fates changed intermittently. Chasing 174 for victory, the Moors looked comfortably at course. At the end of the seventeenth over, they needed 28 off the last three overs with two set batsmen at the crease.
All this was just before a flurry of wickets that changed the match into a humdinger. At one point, the Moors found themselves coasting towards the target and the next thing they knew was the shock they couldn’t comprehend with.
Just when it seemed all was lost for the Moors, with 16 required from the last over with only two wickets in hand, Shiran Fernando turned the match on its head hitting two sixes after running a double in the first ball. Even though the Moors did lose a wicket after that, they just managed to cross the line in what was an absolute cliff-hanger of a match.
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