“Agony And Ecstasy Of The Highest Sporting Quality”

Our friend Pauline, having read yesterday’s post about Wimbledon tennis wondered whether I could repeat the performance with today’s men’s World Cricket Cup final between England and New Zealand. The title is a quotation from one of the commentators of a game which served up the most amazing finish.

I will try to explain the support in general, using this specific match as a vehicle. In the two images above we see the browner stretch of 22 yards between two sets of wickets which the batsmen must protect from the bowlers. In the second picture the batsman has hit the ball into the field. It is the task of fielders to catch or to stop the ball, while the batsmen run between the wickets to score runs. The two men in red shirts are the umpires whose task is to adjudicate on the play and interpret the rules. English players are in blue, while the New Zealanders are wearing black. Most people will understand that the cricket ball is red. In this version of the game it is white.

Around the perimeter is the boundary, which the ball in this image is about to reach, thereby scoring four runs. When the ball is hit over the ropes without bouncing the reward is six runs.

Behind the stumps stands the wicket keeper whose task is to stop the ball after it has passed the stumps. He may also catch the batsman out, or, if he is out of his ground – having crossed the white line in front of him – to stump him by breaking the wicket with the ball.

In this sequence the bowler has sent the ball past both batsman and wicket and the keeper has demonstrated great agility in catching it.

For a bowler the most satisfying dismissal of a batsman is to hit the stumps, or bowl him.

Another method is for the ball to strike the batsman’s pads on its way to certainly hitting the stumps. There are complicated rules about this.

Here are some batsmen in action. With balls often coming at them at 90 m.p.h. they all now wear protective masks,

and often need to take evasive action,

sometimes losing their footing.

Here we have some bowlers in action, their expressions betraying their feelings. The last image in this set demonstrates that some part of the bowler’s front foot must be behind the white line when he delivers the ball.

Fielding has become more important in recent years. Running, diving, catching, throwing to the wicket keeper, are all parts of the art. The last four images show a fielder taking a catch on the boundary. Because his feet touched the ropes the catch was disallowed and the shot counted for six runs.

One unpopular method of being dismissed is the run out. When running between the wickets a batsman must cross the white line. Here, a desperate dash was employed.

Here the batsman failed to ground his bat and was given out;

and this was the run out that, with the last of the extra six balls bowled to decide the otherwise tied match, decided the game, much in the manner of football’s penalty shoot out.

The spectators representing all corners of the globe were transfixed.

This evening Jackie produced a dinner of her own ratatouille, piri-piri chicken, and Lyonnaise potatoes, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Doom Bar.


  1. Some Simply Amazing shots here Derrick and a great explanation of a game which puzzles many. I wonder if all your readers will work out who won?

    1. I’m sure anyone who wants to will know by now, but I didn’t say, because I think they both did – although the final picture does give it away. However it was only settled – not really won or lost. Thanks very much, Susan

  2. Good job of explaining the game Derrick. I’m kind of glad I couldn’t watch it – I might have had a heart attack from the tension! No losers in this match I think – so well played!!

    1. Quite so, Pauline, which is why I didn’t give the result. Thanks very much – especially for the prompt – I don’t think I’d have taken it on otherwise.

  3. Congratulations, Derrick! We all wanted England to win being the creators of the game and having never won the World Cup. Having said that, my heart went out to Kane Williamson and his team. They are such a gentle and enterprising team. It was a magical end unlikely to be repeated anytime soon, or probably in the extant century, assuming we keep playing cricket as it is known today or we don’t blast ourselves into a nuclear winter. If ever there was an occasion begging for announcement of joint winners of the Cup, this was one.

    You have elucidated the rules of the game with interesting photographic representations. With the introduction of DRS and the white ball, some of the rules of cricket have become complicated. For the life of me, I still can’t understand some of the LBW decisions, as the one handed over to Jason Roy early in the innings (not out) β€”perhaps that was a compensation granted to him in lieu of being wrongly adjudged caught behind in the previous inning.

    At the end of it, the final was a great advertisement for cricket, and it augurs well for the game in its home country as well as for those who love it to the core, or are crazy like Indians to whom no other game will do.

    1. Very many thanks, Uma. You will have noticed that I didn’t give the result. That is because, ultimately there should not have been one winner. The Jason Roy LBWs make your point.

      1. I feel as you and Uma do, Derrick, that this was in essence a joint win. It will always be remembered that way I’m sure – and as a truly astonishing event. Well done explaining.

  4. When anyone asks me to explain cricket to them, I’ll forward them your handy dandy, beautifully illustrated post – thanks.

  5. We were watching more of Wimbledon , what a wonderful match, we wanted Federer to win but at the end both deserved to win. We were watching cricket in between, though I did feel sad that New Zealand lost. It is all the same to us whoever won πŸ™‚

  6. A wonderful explanation of cricket, Derrick. I have tried to explain the game to a visiting party of French students on one occasion, and after half an hour of diagrams on the blackboard, we went outside for a practice. First ball the batsmen hit it, I told them to run and then the fielders all ran in and rugby tackled the batsmen to the floor.

  7. I was delighted we won, my dad would have been delighted but I’m not sure he would have understood the coloured outfits, when did cricketers stop wearing white?
    Occasionally I like to stop for A few minutes when passing the village pitch and watch the cricketers play, there’s something so English and comforting about cricketers in white.

  8. A totally amazing and thrilling game to watch, absolutely nothing separating the two teams from start to finish. Definitely two winners as i saw it yet only one is awarded the ‘spoils’ of a Victory.

    A very nicely captured and explained commentary Derrick, and you are quite right to leave the final decision out of the post. There were only winners on the Lord’s ground on Sunday.

    Pity about Wimbledon, but again, nothing separating two winning sportsmen over 5 hours of tennis on the day. (Although i would make mention of the fact that Federer won 36 games to Djokovic’s 32!! 36 games won in a match – that’s equivalent to winning 6 whole sets?) πŸ˜‰

    I wonder when the men will get equal pay for equal work at a Grand Slam?? πŸ™‚

  9. Your photos have captured the discipline, action, the intensity, the excitement, and the emotions! πŸ™‚ Great job, Derrick! πŸ™‚

    I once heard Paul Hogan say this, “Cricket needs brightening up a bit. My solution is to let the players drink at the beginning of the game, not after. It always works in our picnic matches.” HA! πŸ˜€

    Hey! to Jackie and (((HUGS))) to both of you!!! πŸ™‚

  10. I was watching the men’s championship tennis match when I saw that England won the Cricket championship. I thought to myself that I knew at least one very happy Englishman. πŸ™‚ Congratulations.

  11. About time that England won the world cup. Congratulations! Both the cricket and Wimbledon men’s final were nail biting matches. A good Sunday to have such a choice on TV. Next Sunday will seem positively boring.

  12. Wow! Fascinating! Thank you for the explanations. I would have enjoyed the pictures, but had no idea of what they meant most of the time, without your vivid explanations. Thank you! Fascinating indeed!

  13. Thanks Derrick for the amazing photos and for explaining in such great detail. Until now, I’ve only known cricket to be the annoying little bug that screeches his legs together in the middle of the night.

  14. That’s a lot of action, and thank you for explaining the game. I have never been to one. Love the pictures of the spectators.

  15. Great photos and explanation, Derrick! Didn’t watch the game, but heard all about it from my bleary eyed work colleagues on Monday morning. I think there was an expectation that our Kiwi boys didn’t stand a chance against the England team, and that they had been written off. So we are very proud of our lads for giving England such a good run for their money ?

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