One for the books!
AT LAST!After 35 years of global cricketing contests, England finally took on the world in the sport they created – and won.Being long-suffering seems to be an English sporting trait and global titles have been few and far between for the sports-mad nation.One FIFA World Cup title. One Rugby World Cup title. And now, a global cricket title: the ICC World Twenty20.Even before the start, it was clearly England’s day as West Indian fans, Sri Lankan fans, South African fans, Pakistani fans and everyone else who was not Australian, temporarily became part of the Barmy Army – sort of.In fact, the main similarity between the men’s finals in the morning and the more low-keyed women’s final in the afternoon was that everyone was cheering lustily against Australia.A group of Pakistani fans in the Greenidge & Haynes Stand summed up the feelings of most of those around the ground with a sign which implored:“England, please thrash Australia.”With the crowd firmly on their side and hundreds of flags of Saint George fluttering around Kensington Oval, the English team set about doing just that.Within the first three overs, the Aussies, who had looked invincible for the entire tournament, suddenly looked vulnerable. Three wickets fell for a mere eight runs and Kensington rocked with the roars of English fans, both real and newly acquired.The Oval continued rocking as the Australians stumbled to 95 for 5 in the 16th over but their eventual score of 147 for 6 was better than they looked yesterday.However, England’s multi-cultural team made the total look small, led by their South African-born batsmen Craig Kieswetter and Kevin Pietersen, Man Of The Match and Player Of The Tournament respectively.As Kieswetter and Pietersen started to flow in their match-winning 111-run partnership, England’s fans seemed to be caught between euphoria and disbelief.Even as their victory became imminent, the vast majority of the English supporters were surprisingly quiet. They waved their flags at each boundary but otherwise seemed almost afraid to jinx the victory with too much early vocal celebration.On the other hand, the colourful Mornflake Marauders, a group of English rugby players/cricket supporters, whose costumes gave them a striking resemblance to the Teletubbies, were firmly on the side of euphoria.“I’m feeling hotter than the sun!” declared a Marauder encased in a skin-tight purple bodysuit.“But I don’t care! We’re going to beat Australia!” he screamed jubilantly. And they did.