2 April 2011.
1. The Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan shaking hands.
Sport cannot cure all the ailments of the world but it can open minds. Tensions had been high since the Mumbai bombings in 2008. Then India and Pakistan were drawn to meet in the semifinals of the World Cup.
All sorts of problems were forecast. Face flags were suddenly described as war-paint. Instead, the match was an uplifting occasion.
The PMs shook hands and sat together in the stands. Spectators mingled easily. No violence or arrests were reported.
2. The India-England tie.
It has been described as the most exciting ODI ever played. After the match, no one knew whether to celebrate or cry. At various stages, both teams seemed in charge only to find an apparently beaten opponent fighting back.
It was an unforgettable contest that brought the tournament to life and confirmed that 50-over cricket has a vital part to play in the game’s future.
3. Ireland’s win over England.
Ireland had two points to prove before this match began. Angry that the Associate teams had been dumped from the 2015 World Cup, it needed to show that it had capable cricketers. And it yearned to beat England, the old enemy.
All seemed lost as the Irish slipped to 111 for five while chasing 327. However, a beefy red head called Kevin O’Brien was not prepared to give up. In a memorable assault, Kevin blasted 113 off 63 balls and his team won with an over to spare.
Kevin O’Brien playing for Somerset in 2012.
Photo © Harrias, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
4. Ricky Ponting’s century against India.
Of all the fine innings played in this World Cup, Ricky Ponting’s defiant hundred in the quarterfinal was the most impressive.
The odds were loaded against him. His form had been poor, his team was losing and both his captaincy and future were at stake.
Digging deep into his reserves of skill and fortitude, Ponting produced an inspiring innings. It reinforced his greatness and confirmed his appetite for the game.
5. Lasith Malinga’s hat-trick against Kenya.
Of all the bowling spells in this tournament, Lasith Malinga’s demolition of the Kenyans was the most exciting. Admittedly, the opposition was weak but all three deliveries were deadly, in-swinging yorkers delivered at high pace and landing on the exact spot intended. Blessed with a unique action and a colourful character, Malinga reminded observers that bowlers can be as entertaining and effective as batsmen.