Nearly four months have passed since that cliffhanger of a final of the 2019 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup at Lord's, but Ian Smith, the former New Zealand wicket-keeper, who was the on-air commentator when the dramatic Super Over went down, simply can't get over the moment.
“I’m over the result, but I don’t think I’m quite over the moment,” Smith told The Guardian.
Deemed one of the most outstanding one-day internationals of all time, England won “by the barest of all margins” – a boundary count, after both the actual game and the Super Over were tied – as Smith put it on air, to clinch their first-ever 50-over World Cup title.
“I think about that day at Lord’s quite a lot,” Smith said. “It doesn’t dominate my life, but it will never leave me. You could commentate on sport your whole life and never get a moment like that. My voice will be there forever, I guess. It’s an honour … I just hope I got it right.”
An excited Smith’s verbal depiction of the action from that day, including the Super Over, has now become part of cricketing folklore. Part of New Zealand’s 1992 World Cup side, Smith saw his side dramatically end as runners-up in a roller-coaster battle, alongside Nasser Hussain and Ian Bishop in the commentary box.
“None of us in the box could believe what we had just been a part of. I went back to my hotel, the Danubius across the road, with Simon Doull [ex-Kiwi pacer]. We chatted to fans on the way, and then I slept through till morning. I was drained.
“And I was just so disappointed for the New Zealand players. It was their time … but it wasn’t. We never lost the game. We just didn’t win it.”
In a game full of twists and turns, perhaps the biggest turn of them all came when that throw from Martin Guptill ricocheted off Ben Stokes’ bat and ran away to the boundary in the final over of England's chase.
“In all my time, playing and commentating, I have never seen something like that," Smith said. "The most important six of the entire tournament … and it went right along the ground.”
The Super Over had no dearth of jangling nerves, for cricketers, fans and commentators alike. For the microphone-clad Smith, it was the crowning glory of his commentary stint, and at the end of it all, it was the exceptional cricket that stood out for the 62-year-old.
“Ultimately, I just thought it was a fantastic game – one for the ages and a privilege to call – and if kids didn’t want to play cricket after that, well, the sport is in trouble. It was the ultimate advert. Pretty good to be a part of, eh?”
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