Who was the English batsman who was run out off the last ball of the 50th over in the 2019 ODI world cup that shoved the match into a super-over finish? And what did he think about his frantic last-instant dive to stave off the run out?
Mark Wood, England’s express pace bowler, was the batsman and he has a lovely story to tell about it.
But first, here is what happenned. England needed two runs off the final ball, Trent Boult with the ball, Ben Stokes with the bat. Mark Wood is at the non-striker’s end.
It was a pretty poor delivery: a full toss on the pads. Chetan Sharma would have scoffed at it. But Stokes had perhaps pre-decided he wasn’t going to risk a big shot. But he has firm hands, not really ideal for plugging the gaps, but that was what he decided. So, he contrives to push this ball from the leg stump line towards long-on.
“I still blame Stokesy! [Ben Stokes] He was on 60-70 whatever and sweeps the yorkers but when Boult bowls a full toss he pats it to mid-on! What is he thinking there?!,” a laughing Wood jests at the Grade Cricketer podcast.
But what about that dive? Wood seems ready. He stands on the practice tracks on the leg side, not close to the stumps. So in case of tip and run, he wasn’t going to collide with the left-hander Stokes on his same path.
He also stands outside the crease, bat stretched behind the line, and he puts his head down and charges. But he had no chance. The ball was hit straight to long-on and in comes the throw right on top of the bails to Boult at the bowler’s end.
A desperate Wood scrambles across and just as Boult gathers the ball on one bounce over the bails, Wood just flops down, like a flipped omelette. The hurdler Joao Vitor de Oliveira, who dives to win 110m races, would have probably spat had he caught a replay of the Woods dive.
“It was the worst dive in the history of dives,” Wood says. “If it were in Commonwealth Games, I would have got a minus. Never mind 1 or 2, it will be a minus. It was that bad!”
Unsurprisingly, his friends don’t let him forget that. “I still get the piss taken by the lads at his club Ashington at home.”
The best barb fired at him was: “That titanic turns quicker!”
That ship sunk. Wood’s England stayed afloat to win the greatest world cup final by the ‘barest of the margins’.