This weekend, for the first time, I attended a World Cup Final! It was the final of the Cricket Twenty-Twenty World Cup at Lord's Cricket Ground. Now (stop sniggering at the back) this was a truly great occasion. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, here's the lowdown.
- Cricket is a game invented by the English. The players usually wear white and traditionally games take days and spectators sit around drinking Pimms and eating sandwiches.
- It's played with a bat and a ball and it's all about scoring runs (and not getting out).
- The English used to be the best in the world at cricket (when they were the only ones that played). As soon as they shared it with the world, lots of other teams became better than us. Teams who are better than us include Australia, Pakistan, the West Indies, India, and lots of others. Teams who are worse than us generally have no history of playing cricket, see the Netherlands, Outer Mongolia and so on.
- Recently, cricket officials started to realise that not that many people have time to come and watch a game which takes an average of five days to complete. So they invented 20-20 cricket, which involved each side having only 20 "overs" to bowl (each over has six balls. Are you keeping up? Quiz later). This means that the whole game is only 3 hours long approx. and can be very exciting as there is real pressure to score high quickly.
- Very recently for the first time, they decided to have a 20-20 World Cup every 2 years. This year it was hosted by the UK.
- The two finalists were Pakistan and Sri Lanka. England went out miserably at the 'Super 8' stage, despite a 'brave' (rubbish) performance.
- The key player for Pakistan is a man called Shahid Afridi, who in Pakistan is bigger than David Beckham. The man next to me almost fainted when he came out onto the field, and held up a banner which said "Be Afridi, Be Very Afridi", which was a clear work of genius.
To cut a long story short, it was wonderful. We sat in the Pakistan end and the atmosphere was electric. Even I was waving a Pakistan flag at the end (and yes, they did win, and Afridi scored the winning runs). All around us, whole families, grannies, toddlers, you name it had come out to support their team. It was like being at a game in downtown Karachi.