2019 Cricket World Cup, Game 36, Afghanistan v Pakistan
We’ll freely admit that we’re not impartial on this one. Impartiality is for the BBC. We’re highly partial when it comes to Mohammad Nabi and don’t give a flying full toss who knows it.
From our massively biased position, Mohammad Nabi’s celebration of the dismissal of Babar Azam was the best celebration so far this World Cup.
There are many ways to celebrate a wicket. Dale Steyn did the mad chainsaw-starting action; Imran Tahir sprints for five eternities; Brett Lee did that weird, camp heel-click thing; while at this World Cup several of England’s players have been reprising the Ian Botham see-saw fingers celebration from 1992.
None are as good as Mohammad Nabi’s Babar Azam celebration though.
The delivery was special. As far as we can tell, it was beyond non-turning – it looked like it actually turned against the spin. Babar swept, missed and the Zing bails zang or possibly zung.
What Nabi did at this point was even more special. He took 100 per cent of the adrenaline and elation he felt and he put half of it into his finger and half of it into his face and none of it anywhere else.
Here’s his face (and his finger).
Bloody delighted he was. So bloody delighted, in fact, that there was a delight surplus, a little of which spilled into the umpire.
What you can’t see from these still shots is how slowly he was walking and that was the thing that was so wonderful about this celebration.
When celebrating a big, cool wicket, bowlers tend to either (a) charge madly, or (b) come to a complete standstill so that they have a good, firm base from which to launch their celebratory pyrotechnics.
Nabi ambled, but it wasn’t a cool, sneering, I-expected-to-take-a-wicket-anyway amble. Nabi did a delighted amble.
Mohammad Nabi fired that one finger into the air with such urgent force that you could see the aftershocks ripple through his body. His face burst into the purest gleeful smile. Then, with all of that excitement and all of those endorphins coursing through him, he just ambled.
No destination in mind, no follow-up fist pumping. Just an unimaginably slow amble with one finger aloft and a massive great grin.