The Final Word Hall of Fame

On every World Cup Daily episode we chose a Hall of Fame entrant for the day. Now the 38 days of the group stage have been narrowed down to three groups of three. You can vote for the final podium placings by clicking on the Twitter polls posted below.

Thanks to CBUS Super for supporting the Final Word and the Hall of Fame – check out their work here.

The Final Nine (in honour of R. J. Quiney)


Day 8 – Cottrell’s epic boundary catch
One of the great outfield catches. Steve Smith laces his flick shot off Oshane Thomas. It’s heading over at deep backward. But here comes Cottrell racing around the line, plucking it one-handed from over the rope, hurling it up before his momentum takes him over, then recovering his footing to run down the line, hop back into the field and catch the rebound while tiptoeing along the rope without ever touching it. Worth a hundred salutes.

Day 10 – Archer clears the rope
We knew Jofra Archer was good, but this is the moment. The absolute beauty that cuts back in to Soumya Sarkar to clip his off bail – that shows the quality. The fact that the ball carries the boundary behind the keeper on the full – that shows the pace.

Day 32 – Dhoni playing a leave in the 45th over of a chase
No need to expand on this, is there? With about 80 to win off 30-odd balls. “No thanks mate, having none of it.”


Day 16 – Sri Lanka’s swimming pool rage
While England get a routine win over the West Indies, the real story is Sri Lanka voicing their discontent against the ICC. Their bus is too small, their pitches too green, the rain is a conspiracy, and and their hotel in Bristol doesn’t have a swimming pool. Guys, the beach is right there.

Day 20 – Gulbadin’s over: 6, 6, 1, W, 6, W
Some overs are more memorable than others. This one has Eoin Morgan smash Gulbadin Naib for a straight six, then another, then a single. Joe Root is then out trying to hit a six of his own. The batsmen cross, so Morgan hits a third six from ball five. Then holes out from ball six. One over, 2 for 19.

Day 27 – Shakib’s special handshake
Australia beat England today, but someone also sent us footage of Shakib’s handshake the day before. You know how there’s always a sponsor in a suit at the presentations, like here’s the vice-manager for global strategy at DBG International southern Pacific division? This guy grabs onto Shakib’s hand and never lets go. Never lets go. Like the end of Titanic should have been.


Day 3 – Karunaratne carries his bat
A month earlier Dimuth Karunaratne wasn’t even in the one-day team. He hadn’t played the format in four years. But Sri Lanka needed a leader, and suddenly the Test captain is running the World Cup campaign. It doesn’t start well when ten of his batsmen make 73 between them. But Karunaratne makes 52 as an opener and is not out at the end.

Day 23 – Karunaratne’s POOL PARTY
Finally, Sri Lanka get back in the pool, and play like it. After a week luxuriating in the sparkling blue waters of Leeds, they roll England without a backward glance, doing them over on a slow deck with some brilliant bowling. We are proved unequivocally right. What a difference a dip makes.

Day 37 – Final Word listener solves the World Cup’s biggest problem
When Pakistan needed to bowl out Bangladesh for 7 to make up net run rate, people came to the conclusion that net run rate is a stupid measure to separate teams. Nick Toovey is a certified online loose unit who had previously tweeted The Final Word a solution based on adapting Duckworth Lewis scores. On this day he found his plan being advocated and read out on air, in full, by BBC statistician Andy Zaltzman. The World Cup Daily sets the agenda and resolves it.

The previous entrants

Day 1 – England South Africa – Cricket bat guitar on debut
Look, we all make mistakes from inexperience. We can all be fooled by first impressions. Novelty is a hell of a drug. So on the first day of the World Cup when we saw a man playing a guitar made out of a cricket bat, we thought it was cute. We didn’t realise we would be subjected to it every day thereafter, or how quickly it would become the most naff thought bubble in existence. We didn’t realise how far politicians would go to prop up the cricket-bat-guitar industry. We didn’t know that none of the people commissioned to play these things had any ability to play guitar.

Day 2 – West Indies Pakistan – Trent Bridge ticket disaster
For a long time the ICC batted away anxious messages from people whose tickets hadn’t arrived. Don’t worry, the ICC said, we’re sending them close to the date so that scalping is harder. Then: don’t worry, you can collect them at the ground. On day two, most of the potential audience queues outside Trent Bridge for hours while the West Indies win so quickly that there’s no cricket on by the time people get in.

Day 4 – Bangladesh South Africa – Bangladesh fans cheering a wide
Bangladesh supporters are the most enthusiastic in cricket, but set a new standard towards the end of their team’s 330 against South Africa when they cheer individual wides like they’ve just won the World Cup.

Day 5 – Pakistan England – The word ‘mercurial’ for Pakistan
Pakistan get demolished by West Indies, then turn around and run up 350 to beat the tournament favourites. Every commentator reaches for their favourite adjective.

Day 6 – Afghanistan Sri Lanka – Mohammad Nabi pops in a slip
Sri Lanka are off to a flyer. Then in the 22nd over Mohammad Nabi decides he needed a slip for his off-breaks. He picks up three wickets in the over, two of them off the edge to that man.

Day 7 – India South Africa, Bangladesh New Zealand – Morris catch demolishes the stumps
Chris Morris has dug South Africa out of trouble with the bat, then toiled with the ball. He isn’t giving up when MS Dhoni lobs one high in the air. Morris catches it falling backwards while demolishing the non-striker’s stumps. Willing to be impaled: that’s a team man.

Day 9 – Pakistan Sri Lanka – Laurence the spinner on the slow train
On a day when the match is washed out, our Hall of Fame is the intoxicated and enthusiastic left-arm wrist-spinner Laurence and his friend George who entertain us all the way back to London on the slow train from Trent Bridge. Laurence wants to start a left-arm academy with Brad Hogg and Kuldeep Yadav, and we believe in his dream.

Day 11 – India Australia – Aussies selling their tickets to India fans
A somewhat unimpressed Hall of Fame nomination for all the canny Australian fans who get tickets in the ballot and then abandon their team in favour of a healthy profit.

Day 12 – South Africa West Indies – John Williamson’s Offspring cover
During another washout, what better to celebrate than iconic Australian folk singer John Williamson doing a cover of ‘Get a Job’ by American punk band the Offspring. No, we don’t remember why this came up either. Something to do with Steve Waugh?

Day 13 – Bangladesh Sri Lanka – The Marsh Brothers are back, baby
And another washout. Wait, did you hear that Marcus Stoinis is injured? And that Mitchell Marsh is flying in as cover? And that Shaun Marsh is already in the squad? DOUBLE MARSH, BABY.

Day 14 – Australia Pakistan – Aaron Finch hears Wahab’s nick
With Wahab Riaz smashing sixes and on the verge of pulling off a heist, the Australians appeal for a nick off Mitchell Starc but aren’t convinced. Aaron Finch takes all 15 of his seconds but eventually reviews. There it is, the tiniest spike. Australia win the game.

Day 15 – India NZ – Drones holding a tarp to stop the rain
A fourth washout. How can we possibly get some cricket in future? The best suggestion is using drones to float giant tarpaulins over ground. Just don’t take them to Gatwick.

Day 17 – Sri Lanka Australia, Afghanistan South Africa – Maxwell’s pockets
Thanks to a listener for tweeting this in: during some sustained sledging on the boundary for being a cheating Australian, Glenn Maxwell eventually turns his pockets inside out to the crowd.

Day 18 – India Pakistan – Pakistan’s impossible target
After several rain delays in a day match, Pakistan has to come back out after 7pm to chase a revised 136 in five overs. 1992 eat your heart out.

Day 19 – Windies Bangladesh – Pooran hits the roof
When he goes large, West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran lodges a ball in the roof of one the stands. The Final Word has experience at retrieving such balls after a Mitch Marsh incident in Essex.

Day 21 – New Zealand South Africa – Lockie Ferguson’s kit
Lockie Ferguson does it his own way. Black wheels. Long sleeves. Shirt untucked. Blue-movie moustache. Then he runs in and bowls a 150k yorker that hits the base of Faf du Plessis’ leg stump. Cricket slash fiction. Talk about blue.

Day 22 – Australia Bangladesh – Tiger time
The Bangladesh fans are great every day, but this is their peak. Even though their team is never really in a run chase against Australia, they all stay till the end. The crowd is striped with toy tigers, plush tigers, tiger masks, tiger make-up, tiger onesies. Little kids dressed as tiger cubs being carried around. Nothing is as fun as a Bangladesh game in this World Cup.

Day 24 – India Afghanistan, West Indies New Zealand – Everlong: the cricketarist code 
The cricket bat guitars are beyond painful by now, but Adam is still excited when he realises they always play Everlong when the match is all but decided. He’s still hunched over charts and schematics trying to refine the algorithm. (Geoff’s note: Yes, I’m aware this is the day that Carlos Braithwaite made one of the best hundreds ever. This is what happens when I leave Adam alone with the pod for a day.)

Day 25 – Pakistan South Africa – 5-ball overs, 7-ball overs
Five out of seven. That’s the rating that Fight Club once famously got, and that’s what happens at Lord’s. When the umpires realise they have called a five-ball over, they call back the bowler. Later it transpires it that it then became a seven-ball over. We think. We need a scorer.

Day 26 – Bangladesh Afghanistan – Samiullah Shinwari stranded on 49*
The angriest man in cricket. The granite monolith. The man who got Afghanistan home in the only World Cup match they’ve won, against Scotland in 2015. He keeps not being picked this time, then comes in down the order against Bangladesh, holding things together as his teammates promptly fall apart around him. Just like old times. For particular piquancy, No11 Mujeeb is bowled trying to clobber a six rather than sticking with his teammate to help him reach 50.

Day 28 – Pakistan New Zealand – Sarfraz calls for the DRS 
When there’s a bump ball through to the keeper, and the umpires refer it upstairs, and the third umpire says it’s a bump ball, that would be enough for most captains. But not Sarfraz Ahmed, who insists on using his DRS review after the umpires’ review, so the third umpire can use Ultra Edge to look for a nick. There remains a video of a ball bouncing though, which doesn’t help. But Sarfraz knew his rights and wouldn’t be deterred from using them as pointlessly as possible.

Day 29 – West Indies India – Cottrell’s six under the hospitality stand
This is a triumph of angles. West Indies are sunk against India, so when Sheldon Cottrell hits six off Chahal it doesn’t much matter. But it goes so far that it lands in the back row of seats in the grandstand, which is extra impressive considering there’s a large flat hospitality stand like a giant box hanging over those seats. To go that deep beneath it you need a flat 90-metre hit. Cottrell nails it.

Day 30 – Sri Lanka South Africa – Cottrell’s fielding is best in show
Cottrell again, and why not? Sri Lanka are such dross against South Africa that we turn to the West Indies quick again. It transpires that to this point in the tournament he has saved more runs than anyone, ahead of Glenn Maxwell. His expert work on the boundary has brought rewards.

Day 31 – Pakistan Afghanistan, Australia New Zealand – Wahab batting in a hat, Warner eating chips and having babies
Joint winners today. What better sight than a fast bowler, who loves to slog, batting late in a tight run chase, wearing a cap against the spinners. Take me seriously, it says, even while saying that I’m so relaxed I won’t take you seriously. What better than Wahab sweeping a massive six to all but seal it, in a hat? What better than Wahab reverse-sweeping a single, in a hat?

At the same time, Dave Warner was hanging around on the boundary line while they searched for a lost ball, hopping into some bloke’s bag of chips from the crowd. Then he headed off to hospital for the birth of his daughter.