Was this the greatest shot anyone has ever hit?

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Ben Stokes hitting a normal four/six (via ICC video)

2019 Cricket World Cup final, England v New Zealand

England needed nine runs to win the World Cup off three balls. Ben Stokes hit the ball, ran two, and dived for his ground. As he was doing this, he hit a second shot and it went for four.

It was the greatest shot anyone has ever hit.

A kind of full-length jab deflection, the shot was singularly remarkable even before you factor in the fact that the ball arrived from behind him.

To play a diving blind shot for four – thus securing a cumulative six off that particular delivery – was beyond belief. It was even better than his mad catch earlier in the tournament.

And here’s a supplementary and complementary ‘greatest’ as a bonus. The greatest shot never hit was the one Mitchell Santner spurned off the final ball of New Zealand’s innings when he for some reason chose to duck underneath it instead.

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  1. I’m done in. Can we have a break from cricket for a bit?

    Oh never mind, here comes the Ashes.

  2. I commentated on this game for 8 hours and by the end of it I was a gibbering mess while my ‘neutral’ India supporting partner took over.

    I very much could not spake. It’s never been so literal for me either.

    Imagine trying to explain the end of this game to someone who doesn’t like cricket. Madness.

    1. I tried. I’d been working all day (with TMS on the radio of course), finished just before six and watched the last hour and a half at home.

      When I arrived home Stokes and Buttler were laying the groundwork for the hope/disappointment cycle so I thought I’d have a beer to relax before tea while I watched England’s noble but inevitable defeat.

      Shortly after I discovered I was five beers deep, had still not eaten and England had won the world cup.

      In an attempt to deal with this situation I went to the pub. Upon my arrival a friend remarked upon my state of inebriation and asked me what is been up to. I initially said I’d been at work which I immediately had to follow up with: “but then I watched the cricket”. My friend then asked: “oh yeah? What happened?”

      I tried, stuttered, and then realised words had not yet been uttered which were capable of expressing what had actually occurred. Spake: I could not.

  3. It’s the greatest ODI ever played. Its better than the tied semi final, its better than the Bullring Bash, its better than anything so far.

  4. I spent the back half of the game at the top of the garden, wanting to be as far away from everyone as possible.

    I had TMS playing on my phone and ended up with everyone at the top of the garden sitting ’round my phone, shouting at it. The scenes. Cricket.

  5. What a wonderful game of cricket. Truly special, and not lessened from having watched on a 5-6 hour delay – couldn’t be bothered to wake up for it but the American streaming service lets me watch late. May have even made a few fans of cricket out of my friends here.

    Can I write a match report from a recliner in America?

  6. As a neutral observer, the result looks a sham to me. Two evenly matched teams producing a wonderful game of cricket that’s tied down to the Super Over, why not just share the trophy? Would’ve been a just result.

    But this got me thinking – what if the boundaries were also tied? We have a lot of opportunities here. The team with the better facial hair overall, the captain whose grandfather was slightly more racist, a bare-knuckle cage match between Root and Santner…….

    1. It was part of the poorly thought out tournament rules though. Everyone knew what the criteria were going to be.

    2. I was wondering if the boundaries were tied whether the shot KC is describing in this very article would count or not.

  7. Reports coming in now that this shot was awarded one run too many under the laws of the game.

      1. Sport isn’t fair. The third goal in 1966 wasn’t over the line. Kasprowicz’s hand was off the bat. Injustice is part of the drama.


      2. Just heard about it, looked it up, I thought it is very clear. Did you know that the delivery for the Dhoni run out and the delivery before it, NZ had 6 fielders on the boundary? I think the umpires have been shown up, I’m all in for constant VAR in the background. Poor show by the umpires in the middle!

      3. Ok, looks like the 6 fielders bit wasn’t an umpiring error but a broadcasting error where they showed 6 fielders outside the circle in the broadcast graphic. Nevertheless, I’m still all for constant monitoring by the 3rd umpire.

  8. I rather enjoyed Prince Andrew’s pathetically desperate attempts to get absolutely any of the players to show the slightest interest in him. For the rest, I can only echo Hoopy. Cricket!

    1. Presumably he wants to be in the news for anything other than being mates with Jeffrey Epstein.

      1. It looked like he gestured with his thumb at one point… I thought he was saying “Excuse me chaps, I’m just going to give that blonde filly a guided tour of the clubhouse” – or words to that effect

  9. Slowly regaining ability to spake.

    My memory of the final moments will forever be punctuated by: ‘Daddy can we watch Star Wars? How much longer? Can we watch Star Wars now? Have the blue men won yet? Are the Black Cats winning? Can we watch Star Wars?’

    1. In a very real sense, the match was exactly like Star Wars. Stokes was Obi-Wan Kenobi, Stokes’s bat was a light sabre. Those overthrows were Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon, turning up unexpectedly to allow the story to carry on. Jason Roy was Luke in his fighter, the wickets were the particle exhaust vent, the ball the X-Wing’s torpedo. As Roy swooped over the ball, he could hear Stokes’s disembodied voice imploring him to use the Force, which he did. He switched off his targeting computer (you can see this in the replays). The ball, or torpedo, went straight into the exhaust vent, or stumps, which exploded after a fortunate interval, obliterating Grand Moff Williamson and his evil minions. And then Jason Roy went home and snogged his sister.

      So in a very real sense, your kids were already watching Star Wars, and you would have been well within your rights to tell them to shut up.

      1. Very well put. In fact as the Super Over progressed, Mrs Sam did actually shout at them to shut up. It didn’t work.

  10. I still carn’t spake. Can anybody spake?

    NZ was robbed. I feel the need to apologise to all Kiwis on behalf of England for this sporting travesty. Such a bloody nice bunch of blokes. If only it could have happened like this to Australia.

    1. Playing NZ in the final you’re automatically onto a loser, they’re the team you can’t possibly feel good about beating.

      You’d feel a bit of a prat for beating Afghanistan or Bangladesh in a final, but you’d also know you’re spoiling one romantic tale only to lay the emotional groundwork for the narrative of an even bigger epic, when they eventually do win something it will be even better after previous disappointment.

      Beating NZ grants no such reprieve, you know you’ve properly gone and spoiled it. In that sense they must be the one of the worst teams to play in a final, perhaps beating Ireland in a final would leave a slightly worse taste in the mouth.

      1. Are we allowed to give it back, or offer to replay the match? We honestly just don’t deserve it. It’s left an increasingly bitter taste here the more I’ve pondered it.

      2. It does feel rather tained, doesn’t it? I don’t even mean the “extra run” business either – just the fact we couldn’t actually win on the day. Yeah, those were the rules and both sides knew beforehand, but… it’s bullshit

  11. The big question is, will James Vince’s MBE be more or less deserving than the one Collingwood got in 2005?

  12. There’s some very worrying backsliding going on here at the moment. Can I just remind everyone of a few things:

    The laws of cricket are very clear. If the umpire signals that six runs have been scored, then six runs have been scored. Anything that happened previous to this is made irrelevant by the umpire. England scored six runs on that ball, according to the laws of the game they were playing. We seem quite happy, or certainly less unhappy, that Ross Taylor was out, despite that possibly making a bigger difference.

    The laws of all sports are arbitrary, and are not designed to provide scrupulous fairness. Yesterday, Roger Federer beat Novak Djokovic by 36 games of tennis to 32. That’s quite a margin of victory for the 37 year old, who must be absolutely delighted with his win.

    Australia won the World Cup five times. In any fair system of laws that has to be wrong. And yet the results are allowed to stand! Astonishing.

    In other words, we have no reason to feel anything other than ecstatic at this win. Bad luck to New Zealand, but that’s sport. There have been swimming races decided by less than a hundredth of a percent of the time, but a miss is as good as a mile.

    1. Yeah, but swimming’s barely even a sport.
      Multiple categories to let people win extra medals for swimming in a sillier way?

    2. The laws being the laws doesn’t make the laws any good.

      In this case, the law about overthrows was incorrectly applied because they actually “very clearly” state that the batsmen need to have crossed when the fielder fields, which they had not. So that should’ve been a 5, not a 6.

      But worse was the Super Over tie, because the decision to use boundaries as the tiebreaker is absurd. It’d be like young Roger losing to younger Novak after they’d reached 12-12 because Djokovic hit more aces.

      By your logic, you may as well just toss a coin. Hey, it’s arbitrary but that’s sport, right? The laws are the laws!

      1. Hey, it’s arbitrary but that’s sport, right?


        All sport’s laws are arbitrary. Some result in an entertaining pastime. Some don’t. There isn’t any real difference between the skill to hit three upright poles with a ball and the skill to lob an egg into a moving convertible, but one will get you adulation and a six-figure salary, and the other will get you arrested.

        Or in other words, this.

        The tie-break in the tennis was stage 1 of determining the winner, a bit like the super over. It was only when the tie-break was tied that another method was used. This is done in tennis also, by playing on till someone gets two clear points. The rules change to force someone to win. You could argue that another super over could have been tried (ad nauseam), but the chances of getting to the stage of even needing one were miniscule, let alone needing two.

      2. Would have loved a bowl-out. Bowl-outs are funny. Except when they involve Surrey beating Warwickshire.

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