A month full of nervousness for England Almost four weeks into the ICC cricket world cup, the English cricket team found themselves in a spot of bother after losing games against Sri Lanka and Australia. In their last two games they were fighting for survival. But it's not just the English cricket team that found the tournament a bit mentally demanding. England as hosts was already dealing with the far bigger threat in the middle of the tournament. A kind of threat not under their control haunted the initial part of the tournament, the rain.
Rainey demons Billions of people in south Asia were praying to their rain gods in the middle of June but the prayers were surely not for getting rid of the scorching heat in that part of the world. Instead they were praying for the rain to stay away from Manchester on sixteenth of June so they can have a ripper of a contest between India and Pakistan. The prayers were inevitable because six games in the tournament leading to the date were affected by the rains. While three games were washed out completely, only 7.3 overs were possible in the game between South Africa and West Indies. Two other games required the DLS to intervene in order to have a result.
Missiles of memes The weather data prior to India Vs Pakistan game hinted towards another washout and with games being affected not just in the world cup but at every level of cricket in England, the social media got back in action. The missiles of criticism were being launched at the ICC already for poor planning as well as management of the world cup. Some hilarious memes of ICC organizing a swimming world cup were being circulated across the social media. The hosts as well as the ICC must have been having their hearts in the mouth at this point of time because it's not just the fans but the broadcasters and the sponsors who were feeling disappointed as well.
Prayers! Do they work? Some people believe in prayers while others probably don't. We can't say whether they work or not and surely we are not discussing about the prayers here. But we must say that the prayers of subcontinent fans worked in the favor of England, the hosts this time around. The English summer kicked in after the Indo-Pak game but only after affecting the 'Final before the final'. None of the games post-sixteenth June was affected by rain and in fact, most of them were played under the beautiful blue skies with plenty of sunshine for the spectators to enjoy English summer.
The quest for recovery While England as hosts recovered pretty well after mid-June, the English Cricket team was still struggling to seal their birth in the semifinal, even in the last week of the league stage. As Pakistan made an inspiring comeback in the tournament after a bit of a wobble, the English team lost their initial grip. They lost games against Australia and Sri Lanka and from there they had an uphill task of beating two table toppers in order to keep their campaign alive. They had their last two games against India and New Zealand, the two teams against whom they failed to win a single game in past six world cups.
After all the hiccups, English Cricket team recovered just like England, the hosts. Johnny Bairstow found the form he was looking for in the whole world cup against India and Jason Roy came back from where he left prior to the injury. The bowling lineup was never a worry for them and it got even more confident after rattling the well-settled Kiwi batting lineup.
With the ICC Cricket World Cup entering the final stages now, England, the hosts, need three good days full of blue skies and sunshine while the English cricket team needs just two.