Life Lessons Learned from the Cricket World Cup 2019 Final – Madness to Reality

For more than four decades playing in the Cricket World Cup final is the dream of every international cricketer. On the other side, watching a closely fought contest in the World Cup final is the treat to every Cricket lover. On July 14, 2019, at Lord’s Cricket Ground, London; no one knew, we will be witnessing one of the all-time most significant matches in cricketing history. It has drama, anxiety, emotions, anger, hope, determination, cruelty, happiness, and sadness. As a club cricketer for 15 years in my early childhood days and as an avid cricket fan for the last 20 years, I have never watched a game like this. As one of my colleagues described if there is a movie released on this script, I would have laughed and said this could never happen. However, it happened in an epic final, 50 overs tied, super over tied and England beat New Zealand and won the 2019 World Cup based on the number of boundaries. It was a day of nerves, skills, tactics, errors, and madness. When I reflected on this game, I realize there is something I can learn from this madness and apply to reality. 

So near yet so far for Kane Williamson and New Zealand

Lesson 1 – Fight Till End And Be Tactical    
Start of the World Cup no one has imagined New Zealand will be in the final. They are nice guys who always give a tough fight to other teams. Every world cup they are considered as a dark horse, but no one bet on them to win the World Cup. This time,’  they’ve been through more close games than any other team in this tournament, and until today’ they’d been finishing on the right end of those results. They beat Bangladesh, South Africa, West Indies, and India. They neither have legends in the team, nor they have tremendous experience; however, their leader is tactical. He understood the conditions, he utilized his resources appropriately, and as a team, they fought every game until the end when the odds were entirely against them. As an individual, it is essential to understand the surrounding and be tactical about your goals. Sometimes you have to take one step back to go five steps forward. You need to understand the people around you, but you have to play according to the situation. In the end, you have to show faith and grit to fight until you accomplish your goals. England were 4-86 and 8-227 (49 Overs) chasing 242. However, Ben Stokes never quit he continued to play single-handedly and eventually helped England to win their first world cup. If you have a goal and if you are passionate about it; continue to work on it till the last moments of your life. “NEVER QUIT” because you may receive support from the most unexpected route similar to the one Ben Stokes received in terms of four extra runs for an overthrow. 

Lesson 2 – Small Things Make A Big Difference
During the match there are multiple small situations which went England’s way. The final result would have been different if these situations could have gone to New Zealand’s way. Umpiring errors, one of the best fielders failed to grab a catch without touching the boundary, unusually reflecting overthrow to boundary and giving an extra run to England as a result of ‘error of judgement’ the list goes on and on. While growing up, my mom used to tell me, “Every drop of rain makes a difference in filling a lake. So every little action you take will make a difference in your life.” This match has proved this thought again. New Zealand did not lose because of one great innings or one big mistake. In the end all small things proved vital to swing the result in favor of England. In your personal or professional life all small situations decide your success. Your routine, how you manage everyday meetings or how you share information and how you manage your emotions decide your journey. In the end, small things make a huge difference. So focus on winning the small moments. 

Lesson 3 – Smile Even In Loss 
New Zealand played their best game and to be honest; no team had scored the winning run in this match. However, life and this game of cricket were unfair to them. They still don’t have their name on the World Cup, and they will be considered as runners up. Unfortunately, No one remembers runners up. After all this drama and craziness, life was unfair to one team and generous to the other one. As New Zealand Captain said, “Did that just happen? Is that real? And then it hits you” I am 100% sure unless they win the next World Cup or at least one World Cup in their career, there will not be a day when they will not think about this game. However, after all this, Kane Williamson was smiling, and he did not complain about it. He did not mention anything about how unlucky it is and all that. He was still smiling during the press conference and the final presentation ceremony. In life, after all the hard work, focus, and determination result does not go in your favour. Maybe time is not right. However, you never complain and keep looking forward. It might be possible you will never come so close to achieving your goal again at all in your life, but you still keep moving forward because, in this process, you must have win hearts and showed your character. Legacy is not created by winning or losing it is created by how you react to it after what happens to you. In my opinion, though the England team was the winner, I will always remember this New Zealand team, especially Kane Williamson because of his attitude and the way he handled his team.  

In the end though India was not playing in this match, but it will surely go in my memory lane as one of my all time favorite games. Indian Cricket Legends Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman or MS Dhoni are not just cricketers for me. They are my mentors who continued to pursue their work and passion even when situations were not in their favor. So far this list does not contain any non-Indian Cricket players. However, after this match, I am proud to say Kane Williamson will go in this list as one of the legends, and I will surely look up to him. Cricket has taught me a lot, which I apply in my personal and professional life. However, this particular match taught me; things will work out in your favor from nowhere as long as you continue to pursue them. 

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Also published on Medium.