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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Australia's dominance at Indoor Cricket World Cup continues with a near clean-sweep of trophies

Men's and women's team maintain perfect sequence with 10 World Cups, while both the men's and women's under 22 teams lift trophies.

Australia's men's players celebrate after winning the final match of the Indoor Cricket World Cup against New Zealand. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo
Australia's men's players celebrate after winning the final match of the Indoor Cricket World Cup against New Zealand. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo

This was international sport, but not as we knew it. Indoor cricket being aired live on TV, as well as on the world wide web.

Supporters performing Viking thunder-claps. DJ Bravo’s Champion reverberating around a tin shack in Al Quoz industrial estate at deafening volume.

And then, at the end of it all, the most normal thing imaginable: Australia won. Maybe the Indoor Cricket World Cup of Dubai 2017 was not quite such a bizarre experience after all.

This was the 10th win in 10 World Cups for Australia’s men. Their women also maintained their own perfect sequence, while on the same day, Australia’s Under 22 sides won both the male and female titles.

England were the only other country to feature on the roll of honour, as they took home the plate title. But, then, Australia seldom compete for consolation prizes.

“I’ve never seen a sporting team with this sort of record, ever,” Lyle Teske, Australia captain, said of his side’s dominance of this version of cricket.

“It is inevitable that we might have to lose one of these eventually, but we keep going and we keep doing what we do well. It has been enough for the past few years.”

Australia trounced New Zealand in the showpiece match, and Teske hopes his side’s excellence will have been noted back at home.

“I think a lot of people have been watching via the livestream, which is good,” Teske said.

“Indoor cricket is having a bit of a resurgence in Australia because of the livestream coverage, and hopefully this will be another step forward for rejuvenating the sport.”

Australia's women players celebrate after scoring a point against South Africa during the women's final. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo
Australia's women players celebrate after scoring a point against South Africa during the women's final. Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo

Despite their monopoly, Australia’s women will never tire of World Cups wins, Jude Coleman, their captain, said.

“It is always a thrill, you can never get used to it, because you put in so much hard work, so every single one means something different,” Coleman, who has captained the side for the past 12 years, said.

Perhaps predictably, given the second-tier event involved India, the main final did not actually prove to be the main attraction.

The plate finale was played out in front of a frenzied atmosphere between England and India. England eventually secured a last-over win.

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Despite its relatively early start at 11am, the noise generated was every bit as raucous as at the night games of earlier in the week, when hundreds of Indians flocked to Insportz after work.

The main blue mass of Indian support all congregated on the benches directly behind the bowler’s arm.

When the bowlers were at the top of their marks, the Indian supporters were hollering in their ears from close range just beyond the tension netting.

The most choice sledges were reserved for the three players of Asian origin in the England side.

“We have worked quite well on trying to block that kind of thing out,” Anish Patel, England’s captain, said.

“What they were saying to me was, ‘You’re an Indian, come on, give us a wide, give us a wide - you are one of us!’

“I thought it was funny. I had a laugh with them, then just tried to focus on the next ball.”

England coped admirably with the good-natured racket, and gave as good as they got themselves.

Some players cupped their ears to the supporters. When Suraj Reddy, the India batsman, was prone on his stomach after diving successfully to make his ground after a run out attempt, Craig Elliott, the nearest England fielder playfully made to drag him back out of his crease by his feet.

And the English support, massed at the batsman’s end of the neighbouring court, were rarely silenced, either, regularly performing the Viking clap made famous by Iceland’s football supporters.

“Any teams that can bring that type of support does help,” Patel said. “Sometimes players can’t deal with that, but I thought we handled it well.”