Tag Archives: Cricket World Cup Final

C.L.R.—Unsurprisingly—Is Still Right

“[Learie] Constantine’s leg-glance from outside the off-stump to long-leg was a classical stroke. It was not due to his marvelous West Indian eyes and marvelous West Indian wrists. It was due, if you must have it, to his marvelous West Indian brains.” — C.L.R. James

“West Indies are short of brains but have IPL history in their ranks.” ­— Mark Nicholas

In 2016, to be a fan of West Indies cricket, you must be masochistic, nostalgic, or some sickening combination of the two. Between (re)watching YouTube clips of Malcolm Marshall eviscerating off-side stumps and combing through ‘60s-era match reports from Queens’ Park Oval, the cotemporary West Indies supporter is treated to innings defeats, false dawns, and reports of payment disputes. It becomes a depressing rhythm of sorts.

That’s what makes 2016—and today especially—so otherworldly: The West Indies are, beyond all reasonable expectations, making positive headlines. Three major tournaments have begotten three West Indian champions. From the U-19 side to the underappreciated T20 women to the men’s victory hours ago, 2016 is already the most successful West Indian cricketing year in decades—hyperbole be damned.

However, these successes have brought out a strange yet sadly predictable negativity from certain corners of the cricketing world. The U-19’s Maknad has been discussed and dissected in harsher terms than Michael Clarke’s threat to break another human’s bone. The T20 men have been pilloried for having outsized personalities and hitting too many sixes. Even the T20 women have been criticized for their celebrations. The question is, why?

Race is everywhere in sport, no matter how color blind you claim to be. We like to think that sport is a safe sphere untouched by the politics of the world, but this is foolish—the same realities and dynamics that exist beyond the boundary exist within it as well. A colleague at work made an interesting observation recently: In the public sphere, while vehement racists are nearly extinct, subtle racism is still endemic. This is true of both sport writing and commentary. When discussing black athletes, there exists a quasi-coded racialized language. Many have written about this fact. Black athletes, frequently, are typecast as arrogant, brash, and naturally gifted. Words such as “canny” or “intelligent” are infrequently used descriptors when compared to their white counterparts.

Do I think Mark Nicholas and others who have voiced similar ideas are racist? No. But I think they’re being intellectually lazy by falling back on these tropes. I am guilty of this as well. In life and sport, many of us are.

You don’t become as good at cricket as the West Indies are without intelligence. See: the final. After dropping to eleven for three, Marlon Samuels crafted a cagey innings that would have been at home in any Test match. He took calculated risks while relieving the pressure on his beleaguered side, slowly dragging the West Indies within striking distance of England’s total. But the overs were running out. As I watched, I thought that, while Samuels’ effort was valiant, it was too little, too late. I was a fool; it was calculated to set the stage for a stunning checkmate.

As Carlos Brathwaite launched the final of his four sixes into the Eden Gardens stands, I gaped in awe. We all did. Yet, to the West Indies—while thrilling—it was far from a surprise: It was all part of the plan. Cool and calculated.

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That’s A Wrap: A Recap of the ICC Cricket World Cup Final

And just like that, the 2015 Cricket World Cup is in the books. An unbelievable bowling performance from Australia sealed an easy victory over New Zealand inside a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Although, New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat first, from the first ball of the day the result never looked much in doubt for Australia. Brendon McCullum’s aggressive batting at the the top of the order has propelled the Black Caps at times this tournament, particularly in their semi-final win over South Africa. Yesterday however, McCullum was simply too risky against an excellent Mitchell Starc. On the fifth ball of the match, Starc bowled McCullum off stump for a duck and New Zealand were sitting 1-1. Martin Guptill was bowled out by Glenn Maxwell leaving the visitors at 33-2 after 11.2 overs, while less than an over later, Mitchell Johnson bowled and caught Kane Williamson.  35 overs in, Ross Taylor was bowled by James Faulkner and caught by the wicketkeeper Brad Haddin leaving the visitors 150-4 and in a world of trouble. The floodgates opened then for Australia’s bowlers, dismissing Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi for ducks. The Kiwis were 167-6 when Mitchell Johnson bowled Daniel Vettori, the veteran Black Cap was out for a measly 9. Matt Henry was gone for a duck and shortly thereafter Tim Southee was brilliantly run out after 45 overs with New Zealand putting up a paltry 183 in their inning.

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ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Final…A Contrarian Prediction

A final of New Zealand and Australia feels a bit inevitable, doesn’t it? South Africa was always going to find a way to lose—painfully. India had the air of a paper tiger throughout the tournament. At no point during the competition did Pakistan seem convincing. And that’s to say nothing of a West Indian side that seemed to take glee in tiptoeing on the edge of a precipice; a Bangladeshi squad punching above its weight; and a team of Sri Lankans that have already taken to blaming their woes on a lack of cardio. The less we discuss Zimbabwe, the better.

(Are there any member nations I’m forgetting? No? Alright then.)

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ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Final…A Prediction

Only 100 overs remain in the 11th Cricket World Cup and for a second straight tournament the hosts square off; New Zealand versus Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the title of World Cup Champions.

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