I’ve been quite surprised at the online reaction to England’s Cricket World Cup win last night. So many calls that Stokes’ inadvertent extra boundary shouldn’t have counted, or should have counted for less (fewer?); so many people saying that the final outcome being decided by the number of boundaries in the game was “unfair” or “too arbitrary”.
Allow me a couple of points, if you will.
Firstly, it’s fine to be irrational, as long as you know you’re being irrational. Sport brings out the irrational side in a lot of people, and yesterday’s game encouraged it even more simply because it was so spectacular, so topsy-turvy, so big: and so damn close. The fact that it was played in such great spirit and with such gracious sportsmanship only adds to the emotion, and to the belief that neither side deserved to lose: that they should have simply declared it a draw (which is clearly hugely irrational, but it’s ok, because I know that I’m doing it).
Secondly, it’s really not “unfair” or “arbitrary” to decide a game in any given manner, just so long as the participants are aware of the rules ahead of time. It would be ridiculous to get to a tie at the end of the Super Over and then choosing a method to decide the winner. I’m sure that no-one could have believed that it would ever come down to how many boundaries each team had scored, but since there was a chance that it might, maybe Kane Williamson (yes, lovely guy) should have rallied his team to score more boundaries. Mind you, since this is kind of the aim of the batting side in cricket generally, I’m not sure why they weren’t trying to do this anyway.
It’s unfair (and irrational) to cherry pick the method of deciding the game only once one gets to the stage where one has to. But still, people thought they’d give it a go. Some other suggestions to decide the game might have been: using the result in the round robin matches (England would have won), the overall net run rate (England would have won), relative positions in the ten team league (England would have won), wickets lost in the Super Over (England would have won), overall boundaries scored in the tournament (England would have won).
But those all seem to have been ignored, with many people seeming to have settled on the number of wickets lost in the 50-over final, which conveniently would have meant that New Zealand took the match, and with it, the World Cup. Of course, it we’d all known about that up front, presumably both captains would likely have encouraged their side to try and lose fewer wickets (which is – again – pretty standard stuff unless you’re raking in some dollars in from some dodgy bookmakers).
Of course, it simply comes down to anti-England sentiment. Which is why we have to hear about all the different original nationalities of the players every time we play.
Everyone: England should accept more immigrants and put them in positions of responsibility.
ECB does it.
Everyone: Not like that.
And which, of course, is rather irrational.
But we’ve covered that already, haven’t we?
So here’s a photo of the World Cup winning team, full of diversity (except that they’re all men, obviously), who scored more boundaries than their opposition yesterday.
Well done, boys!