The year 2019 saw a few historic sporting events that kept sports enthusiasts hooked. From England winning their maiden, albeit controversial, ICC Cricket World Cup title, sparking an intense discussion among cricket fans.
NewsOne brings you top five sporting events that wowed fans in 2019:
ICC World Cup 2019 final
The ICC World Cup 2019 final match between the England cricket team and New Zealand cricket team will be remembered as one of the greatest world cup finals ever. The 2019 world cup final had every ingredient to spice up cricket fans’ palate — from the match ending in a tie after 100 overs of intense play to the Super Over also seeing a tie. But it was England that eventually ended up on the winning side, thanks to the controversial ‘boundary-count’ rule.
While chasing a sub-par total of 241 set by Kane Williamson’s New Zealand side, Ben Stokes ‘almost’ steered England to a victory by scoring a fighting unbeaten 84 off 98 balls. This included the contentious four overthrow runs. The match went to the Super Over, where England scored an impressive total of 15 runs. Chasing it, New Zealand also scored 15 runs off Jofra Archer, who was playing his first World Cup final. As a result, the Super Over also ended up in tie, kicking in the so-called ‘boundary-count’ rule to decide the outcome. It was a heartbreak for the Kiwis and joy for England, as the latter had hit more boundaries than the former to score the same number of runs.
So far as fans were concerned, there was no winner or loser, as both sides were incredibly and equally magnificent.
PSL 4 Final
The 2019 Pakistan Super League Final was played between Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi in a packed 32,000 capacity National Stadium, Karachi. Quetta Gladiators won the toss and elected to field. In the first innings, Peshawar Zalmi’s openers Imam-ul-Haq and Kamran Akmal were out early-on, for 3 runs off 4 balls at 1.3 overs and for 21 runs off 15 balls at the end of the fourth over, respectively. Following which Sohaib Maqsood, added 31 runs for the third wicket with Umar Amin before getting caught at long off scoring run-a-ball 20. Amin, the top scorer for his side, was caught out at deep mid-wicket after making 38 runs off 33 balls. Nabi Gul was caught out at 14.4 overs for 9 runs off 12 balls. Kieron Pollard was caught behind for seven off 12 balls. Later, Darren Sammy and Wahab Riaz added 28 runs for the seventh wicket. Zalmi scored 138-8 in 20 overs batting first with Quetta Gladiators’ pacer Mohammad Hasnain finishing his four overs with the figures of 3-30 and Dwayne Bravo finishing with 2-24.
In the second innings, Quetta Gladiators’ Ahmed Shehzad, who scored 58 runs not out off 51-balls and Ahsan Ali, who scored a 18-ball 25 added 47 for the second wicket after opener Shane Watson was run out for seven runs in the third over. Shehzad’s unbroken partnership of 73 runs for the third wicket with Rilee Rossouw who made 39 not out off 32 balls, helped Gladiators achieve the target in 17.5 overs. Rossouw took the winning single. Thus, Gladiators won their maiden PSL title by beating Zalmi by eight wickets. Hasnain was named the man-of-the-match.
Wimbeldon 2019 final
Though defending champion Novak Djokovic successfully defended his title, it took him good four hours and 57 minutes of fierce contest with 20-time grand slam winner Roger Federer. This was not only the longest Wimbledon singles final ever but also the only final or singles’ match where the set tie-break rule had to be used. Under this rule, upon reaching the score of 12-all in the fifth set, a classic tie-break was played between the two giants of the game which Djokovic won 7-3. The final score showed Djokovic having won the match 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3).
Djokovic also became the first man since Bob Falkenburg in the 1948 Wimbledon Championship to win the title after being championship points down. He saved two while being down 7-8 in the fifth set. This was also the first time since the 2004 French Open that a man had saved championship points and won a Grand Slam title, and the first time that any singles player, male or female, had saved a championship point to win a Grand Slam title since the 2005 Wimbledon.
Rugby World Cup winner
The world’s third-largest sports event, Rugby World Cup — the first two being the Summer Olympics and Football World Cup — was also played in calendar year 2019. England entered the finals by defeating tournament favourites New Zealand. And South Africa, also known as Springbok, registered their finals spot by defeating Wales. The 2019 Rugby final was a reminiscent of the 2007 Rugby World Cup final, which had also featured England and New Zealand. The match saw South Africa claiming their third Rugby World Cup title with a 32-12 victory over the opponent. The 2019 Rugby World Cup registered a place in history books, and South African captain Siya Kolisi became the first black player to lead the team to championship. Earlier, when Nelson Mandela had celebrated with Francois Pienaar at Ellis Park in Johannesburg after the 1995 World Cup final, there was one black player in the Springbok team. When John Smit did the same, arm in arm with Thabo Mbeki in Paris in 2007, there were two.