10 Things We Liked Most About The World Cup

So it’s all over. The stadiums have emptied, the clear up has begun, and the trophy has been safely tucked away at Lord’s – until it’s stolen by rapscallions and subsequently found under a bush by a dog. It was a pretty memorable World Cup on the whole, and here are the ten things we liked most …

1. The Favourites Won – normally we’re an island that disdains favourites. After all, ‘favourites’ normally means Barcelona, Germany, Saracens, or (until recently) the Australian cricket team. This time, however, we’re grateful that the outcome was entirely predictable. Sod the underdog. We wanted the World Cup and we wanted it badly

2. Ben Stokes – Go on admit it. You thought he was overhyped; you thought the nation would never forgive him for Bristol-gate; you thought he couldn’t rotate the strike well enough; heck you probably thought he wouldn’t make it through the tournament without missing most matches through injury. You were wrong. I was wrong. Stokes was one of the real stars of the show. Maybe those IPL franchises who pay a fortune for his services know what they’re doing after all?

3. Jofra Archer – Nobody gives two hoots about team sprit when the new boy’s taking wickets for fun. The objections to young Jofra being shoehorned into the side were always ridiculous, and so it proved. Archer provided exactly what the attack had missed for four long years – a cutting edge. The fact that Mark Wood managed to keep himself fit for six weeks was also highly convenient, and suddenly England had one of the most feared attacks in the tournament. Nobody was crying for David Willey when Archer and Wood were knocking helmets off.

4. Jonny Bairstow – It should henceforth be written that Michael Vaughan, that most polarising of observers, should troll ginger Jonny mercilessly before every meaningful England game. What a response! Who cares if he’s tad touchy if it results in remarkable run gluts.

5. The Pakistan Versus Afghanistan Game – This was my favourite match of the tournament. It was tense, it was edgy, and it (almost) had a fairy-tale ending. What’s more, it had a load of players I’d never seen play before. And Rashid Khan lived up to the hype for once. I still can’t believe that Pakistan won. They looked deader than a day one UAE pitch.

6. Loryn’s Standby – Ok, so it wasn’t exactly World In Motion or Three Lions, but I thought it was really good for a generic tournament pop song. I loved her voice, I love the vocal riff, and I thought it was a catchy and memorable sonic backdrop when the commentators ran through statistics between innings. I also really liked the video of the young people coming together on that roof terrace, although it would’ve benefitted from a bit more cricket content.

7. Luck Finally Evening Itself Out – English sport has had no fortune whatsoever over the years. We’ve been perennial losers in the online casino of sporting theatre. I still can’t believe that we lost in Italia 90 or Euro 96. In fact, the thought of Gazza’s outstretched leg missing that cross in front of goal by less a millimetre still keeps me awake at night. So maybe I shouldn’t mourn too much for New Zealand when Guptill’s throw ricocheted off Stokes’s bat for four more runs? In hindsight it was the sporting Gods apologising for spitting in our eye for decades.

8. Those Cricket Bat Guitars – ok, I admit I was a bit conflicted about putting this one in the ‘like’ column, but I still loved the idea. It just got a little wearing after a while. Perhaps it was just the choice of riffs. Why play Lenny Kravitz, the Jimi Hendrix wannabe, ad nauseam when you can play Jimi Hendrix? Imagine Jason Roy walking out to bat with Voodoo Chile blasting across Lord’s. Or even better, Hey Joe when Root strides out to the middle: “Hey Rooooot, where you goin’ with that bat in your hand?”

9. The Semi Against Australia – Now look here Steve Smith and David Warner. I don’t like you. I’ve never liked you. And when I found out you’d been cheating I liked you even less. So do I really need to explain why England stuffing Australia in Birmingham felt so glorious? The crowd at Edgbaston are always brilliant and those legendary Brummies were in fine voice that day. England should play the first test of every Ashes series at Edgbaston just like the Aussies always play the first test at Brisbane. It just makes sense #FortressEdgbaston.

10. The Final Being On C4 – When cricket was on the BBC England were generally rubbish. We seemed to gradually improve when it moved to C4, and it obviously culminated in that famous 2005 Ashes series. Sunday therefore felt like English cricket had finally come home. And the fact that millions of people tuned in despite the clash with the Wimbledon final – one in the eye for the ECB stooges who claimed existing forms of cricket have no appeal – might yet make the authorities wake up, have faith in their existing product(s), and abandon their unpopular madcap Hundred concept.

What did you like most about the tournament?

James Morgan

Written in collaboration with Go Win


  • My highlight was watching wall to wall cricket everyday pretty much for 6 weeks… bliss!

    Oh yeah and stuffing the Aussies when it really mattered :)

  • Loved the fact that a couple of losses (we all knew we would lose the odd game across the competition) didn’t mean we went out. Great that the longer competition meant the best teams would get to the semi finals, as they did.

    Disliked the ECB commentary team. Do I really want to listen to Michael Clark or Sourav Ganguly commentate on English games? Nope!

  • 1) Watching cricket all day for 6 weeks
    2) Going to six games
    3) Chatting to my cricket-interested mates about the World Cup about England’s chances
    4) Celebrating with the aforementioned three at Lord’s when England won the World Cup. £1300 per ticket be damned!
    5) India not winning. The BCCI got the ICC to give India a week’s delay before their first game because of IPL-related tiredness. Kohli himself this was an advantage to India. They bitched and moaned when we beat them at Edgbaston, and they griped when they lost to NZ (two knockouts Virat? Really?) and were furious when we did
    6) The whole country getting behind England in the final. Made you realise why multicultural Britain is so awesome.

  • I’ll add the Sri Lankan fans at the matches I attended at Chester-le, with their music and colourful costumes.

  • I like that in a fair world, NZ were the winners and we all know it. What a pity that wickets lost didn’t count and why on earth are runs scored via boundaries ranked more highly than runs that are actually run? As for the “super over” – an Allen Stanford invention, initially for WI T20 – and we know how he ended up.

  • Nice article James. Good to see a celebratory one, as there was far more to celebrate then castigate.
    The unprecedented attendances at games and the enthusiastic atmosphere that engendered will stay with me as long as the finale and Englands victory. For me that made the tournament uniquely special.
    Noticeably the ECB have not jumped on the bandwagon to claim credit for the tournament’s public success.
    Now all we have to do is build on that to raise the game’s profile in the way we didn’t manage after our twin Ashes successes. The post final interview with Strauss is worth catching as it explains a lot about the recent conflict between the red and white ball games. He certainly seems determined to make this one count. Just hope we carry on in the same vein during the Ashes, so his and Bayliss’s efforts will be appreciated and they don’t become the villains of the piece should we get a beating. Personally, from what I’ve seen of the Aussies so far I’m pretty confident we have the resources to win again, as I’m also pretty sure we won’t get any pitches like Sunday’s.
    Have a good weekend too James, and well done to all the bloggers for such an intense 7 week ride.

    • Cheers Marc.

      I think Strauss deserves a lot of credit imho. It was him who shunned the public clamour for Gillespie to appoint Bayliss, and in hindsight I think that was the right decision for the time.

      Although I don’t like Strauss’s penchant for management speak, and I thought we was quite a conservative captain (bowl tight, scoreboard pressure etc), there’s no doubt that he’s a highly competent and intelligent bloke. I have far more faith in him than Giles, and in some ways I wish he could come back to his role at the ECB now that he has time.

      • Always thought Giles was being operated like a hand puppet. Never had much confidence in his ability as an innovator. Maybe he’ll surprise us all and develop a more relaxed posture on camera. Always feel he will say the right thing by his bosses, whereas I feel at least Strauss has a mind of his own, even if you don’t agree with it. Was certainly impressed by the post final interview.

  • Despite some weather issues, there is one great thing about having the world cup in England. Fans of all nations turn out in great numbers to watch their team, which meant a great atmosphere at the games.

  • Same thing as every World Cup: cricket, every single day. Wake up in the morning (I’m in the states) and there’s cricket. Every single day (with a couple exceptions) for six weeks. You really can’t ask for much more than that.

  • Chris Woakes was the feared opening bowler who did for the Aussies. In the first game they kept misshitting him and dancing around as the ball went through them They survived and they won. It wasn’t going to last and they were done for second time round.
    Ben Stokes because he showed his team how to bat on a bowler’s wicket. After all the idiocy of one dimensional training and hype on flat pitches and fearless cricket he dug in and dug out the runs.
    The pitch because it produced the most exciting game ever – one in the eye of the godless ones who droned on about how exciting cricket depends on long hits and flat pitches and short attention span. I mean how could a game which struggled with conditions with bowling on top ever supply hours of gripping tension?

    • Where were the hours of gripping tension? The last hour or so was certainly one of the most engrossing of any sporting occasion I can remember, but the other 7, very little to talk about there. We only felt gripped because England were involved. The New Zealand innings put you to sleep, and how is a county second string medium pacer being the most effective bowler in ours supposed to be entertaining? This is a showpiece occasion and needs something better than a lottery pitch. It was no coincidence that a world class batsman like Root produced his worst innings in an England shirt by a distance.
      I get really fed up with the flat track road argument as we had precious few of them in this tournament. In white ball cricket, which is designed as a batsmen’s game, all the restrictive rules and regulations applying to the fielding side, surely even bounce with the ball coming onto the bat provides the most entertaining spectacle for this format and it doesn’t have to be a road to do that. There have been a number of such games in this tournament., my personal favourite being the South Africa v Australia match played on an Old Trafford wicket with pace and even bounce giving both sides an even chance. Over six hundred runs and more drama leading up the final over than the much vaunted final.
      A pitch that sabotages talent and rewards mediocrity is not an entertaining spectacle in my book. The only batsman that looked anything like on either side was Butler, who has a freakish gift for timing the ball, which I haven’t seen the like of since Gower first appeared on the scene.
      Judging white ball cricket by red ball standards has never worked for me as the games objectives are different, there being no white ball draws to play for. I’ve no problems with pitches like this in the red ball game, where there isn’t the pressure to score quick runs, but that’s the main point of one day games. When talented batsmen are reduced to looking desperate by ordinary bowlers, as even Stokes frequently did in the final, the balance has for me switched unacceptably in the other direction.
      No specific pitch can be credited with producing a finish like Sunday’s. For me it could happen equally on any surface, as I haven’t come accross any evidence to suggest the contrary.


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