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cricket

What was the most gripping phase of play

What was the most gripping phase of play?
Miller: Until Sunday, I’d have said the implosion of India’s top order in the Old Trafford semi-final. It was a Bo(u)lt through the Blue, as 2015’s beaten finalists confirmed unequivocally that they were the real deal. But come on. Every detail of that final climax, from the 49th over of England’s chase onwards, will be tattooed on my retinas till I die.

Muthu: Last five overs of the final – I was on the live report and I was screaming every ball, and that’s why all of it is in capital letters.

Samiuddin: Jos Buttler’s counter against Pakistan, the last two overs Carlos Brathwaite played against New Zealand at Old Trafford, Shaheen Afridi’s opening burst against New Zealand. But also, in the final, Colin de Grandhomme’s entire spell against England. It was just so counterintuitive (and down to the pitch) that a bowler like him would be such a threat against a batting line-up like England’s. The pitch as the great leveller.

Ugra: Jasprit Bumrah’s tenth over against Afghanistan and the awesomeness of its inevitable efficiency. As Mohammad Nabi began to eat away at a modest total and India teetered, Bumrah was India’s insurance policy. It was duly encashed.

Dobell: England’s chase against Australia at Edgbaston. And the way they attacked the bowling, in particular. Mitchell Starc might be one of the greatest white-ball bowlers in history, but after five overs he had conceded 50. Nathan Lyon was hit for six first ball and Steven Smith conceded three sixes – one of them may not yet have landed – in his only over. This wasn’t the England any of us grew up watching. And it was all the better for it.

Isam: Kane Williamson’s captaincy when he brought on Colin de Grandhomme in the final. He was supposed to be New Zealand’s weakest bowler, but the in-and-out fields and lengths kept England guessing, and showed why Williamson is the rightful heir in a long line of great Kiwi thinkers that includes Richard Hadlee, Martin Crowe, Stephen Fleming and Brendon McCullum.

Fernando: Angelo Mathews winning the match against West Indies with the ball, after he hadn’t bowled even in the nets for eight months, was unforgettable.

Krishnaswamy: Carlos Brathwaite against New Zealand. All the classic ingredients were there – a seemingly wrecked chase in a must-win game, no recognised batsmen at the other end – and when the realisation dawned that this was actually happening, everything slowed down, and every ball became an event. New Zealand invited (and eventually earned) fines and demerit points for their long deliberations between balls, but all those long gaps were filled with exquisite tension.

Gardner: Overs 49-50 (of England’s innings) and the two Super Overs in the final. They are seared on my cerebral cortex for eternity.

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