I am a little tired and hoarse today after last night. This wasn’t because I was out until the early hours of the morning partying…oh wait, yes I was. I was with 42,000 other people screaming and yelling and crying and laughing and hugging strangers and high fiving other strangers at 11pm last night. At 10.45pm last night I was chewing my finger nails with 42,000 other people and you couldn’t hear a pin drop. That’s right: I was at the cricket semi-final last night between New Zealand and South Africa. (I mentioned my good fortune of receiving tickets for my birthday last week.) And what a semi-final it was. I have been a life-long cricketing tragic and have suffered a lot for supporting the New Zealand team, but last night’s game made up for a lot of that suffering. Not all of it of course, but a lot.
It came down to the second-to-last ball of the game and up until that time it was either team’s match to win. But with that second-to-last ball up stood New Zealand’s Grant Elliott, the second-oldest player in the New Zealand team and ironically a South African-born immigrant who moved to New Zealand to further his cricketing career. He was facing Dale Steyn, one of the best fast bowlers in the world (for a bit of perspective he bowls at 145-150kms/hr from 22 yards away giving the batsman 0.5 seconds to react!) and he hit him back over his head into the stand to win the game! In so doing, New Zealand made it to their first ever World Cup final. (South Africa has not made it to a final yet.) For a fantastic description of these last few balls see this story by Andy Bull in the Guardian. Anyway, did I tell you I was there!? My brother-in-law and I hugged strangers standing next to us and roared ourselves hoarse. If you have never watched a cricket match before then this game would be a fantastic one to watch for your first. I have to thank Shannon for taking the boys for the afternoon and evening, allowing me to go to watch it. So thank you so much my love!
So now, what happens next? Well, New Zealand’s role in hosting the World Cup is over. The remaining two games are both in Australia. Tomorrow afternoon the Australians play India in the second semi-final in Sydney. Although supposedly a home game for Australia, there are a few concerns that the Indians fans will outnumber their Australian counterparts! And then the winner of that game will take on New Zealand in the final this Sunday in Melborne. New Zealand has already beaten Australia this World Cup, but we haven’t played them at home yet. We haven’t faced India yet at the World Cup so they are a bit of an unknown quality for New Zealand (aside from the common knowledge that they have a truly massively talented batting lineup!) Suffice it to say that I will be watching the final on Sunday on the TV/listening to the radio if I can’t get to a TV. Am I excited? Oh yes. Oh yes indeed.