‘Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it’, or so wrote nineteenth-century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. However, there was nothing hasty about the punter who placed a year-long 12-fold accumulator on various major sporting events in 2018/19, although his bet did eventually boil down to a rather breathless Sunday afternoon and evening in southwest and northwest London.
By that stage, the intrepid punter had already chalked up ten winning selections, including Europe in the Ryder Cup at 11/10, Liverpool to finish in the top two in the Premier League at 8/11 and MK Dons to finish in the top seven in League Two at 1/3, to name but three. However, on Sunday, July 14, 2019, he still required defending champion Novak Djokovic, at 7/2, to win the Men’s Singles Final at Wimbledon and England, at 5/2, to win the Cricket World Cup Final at Lord’s.
After nearly five hours play, Djokovic finally defeated Roger Federer 13-12 in the fifth and final set after a tiebreak. Over at Lord’s, almost as if the betting gods knew a huge sum of money was at stake – the punter stood to collect £258,000 for his initial outlay of £650 – the agony continued. Set a total of 242 to win outright, England scored 14 runs from their final over and tied the New Zealand score of 241, resulting in a so-called ‘Super Over’ to decide the result. Remarkably, after a further six balls apiece, both teams had scored 15 runs and were still tied.
However, the International Cricket Council (ICC) tournament playing conditions stated that, in the event of a tie, the team that hit the most boundaries during their innings, including the Super Over, would be declared the winner. Thankfully, at least for our punter, England hit nine more boundaries than New Zealand, so became Cricket World Cup Winners for the first time.