The day started with a WhatsApp message on the family link from our son in USA. 'Please, don't any of you tell me the score!'
The rest of us gathered round our TV. It was reminiscent of the 50s and 60s when, for big events, all neighbours crammed into the one house in the street that had TV. Even Jip, the Border Collie our son was dog-sitting, was content to lie down with us once we were all rounded up together. Our lovely daughter-in-law had prepared coronation chicken and rice plus gooseberry shortcake and ice cream. Knee food
I'm still struggling to believe it all. England don't win limited overs cricket. England are gallant losers, sometimes just losers. Our emotions ran the full gamut – expectation, anxiety, hope, fear, despair, hope, joy, astonishment, hope, despair, disappointment, perplexity, hope, despair, wonder, hope, despair, amazement.
And then the hiatus before the super over. The speculation. Who would bat / bowl? Buttler and Stokes were givens except that soon-to-be Man of the Match Stokes was utterly spent. Archer was the meanest bowler we had but he was young and inexperienced. Who dares wins. Morgan dared.
Our batsmen took on the best Kiwi bowler. In our 15 runs we got two sixes the latter one a fluke. It should have been two but, when Stokes flung himself full length over the line to beat the incoming ball, it struck him and went for four overthrows. There was no argument from the sporting Kiwis. They knew it wasn't deliberate. Stokes' face was in the grass at the time. And for some time after.
Then young Archer, whose inexperience was a concern, began his over with a wide – a wide outside off stump :shock: We groaned and despaired and his captain had a gentle word with him. And then it got worse. Then better. Then it got tight. And then they needed three off two. Then two off the last ball. And, as if adrenaline didn't exist, Jason Roy threw the ball unerringly straight to keeper Buttler. And Guptill crashed, too late, into the stumps. And we'd won.
And our living room erupted. And possibly the best bit was that we all shared it together – the highs, the lows, the despair, the hope, the frantic calculations and the joyous disbelief. And the latter is still with me.
And, thoughtfully, no-one messaged USA where number one son would just be waking up to a wonderful day ahead.
“There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken