Trent Boult’s reaction said it all.
The New Zealand fast bowler held his nerve on the final ball of the penultimate over, catching Carlos Brathwaite and ending a magnificent innings that almost handed the Black Caps a first defeat of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.
And while most fast bowlers would not have enjoyed seeing the sort of bludgeoning Brathwaite produced on his way to a near match-winning 101, Boult could only stand back and admire the West Indian’s knock.
He said: “For Carlos to come out and do that as cleanly as he did, pure hitting – I’m going to say that was pretty cool to watch. It was a great game, great for the tournament and it was a good crowd out there as well. So it was good for them as well.
“Initially I thought (the catch) was going to be quite a way inside the rope, but it was almost driven for six in the end. It was nice to snaffle it. And what a game. Simple as that, really.”
So much happened in this encounter at Old Trafford, eventually won by five runs by the Black Caps, that it is hard to take it all in.
Sheldon Cottrell’s two-wicket opening over set the tone, before Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson shifted momentum back with a 160-run partnership.
Williamson went on to make 148, his highest one-day score, as New Zealand made 291 from their 50 overs.
Boult then struck twice early, removing Shai Hope and Nic Pooran, both for one, before returning to remove Ashley Nurse and Evin Lewis.
That was his best return in terms of wickets in the tournament so far, but the leader of the Kiwi attack did not do anything differently.
He explained: “I'm almost 30 now, so I'm getting on a bit. So I've played enough cricket to understand it comes around when it comes around, I suppose.
“I feel like I've been contributing to the rest of the group in terms of building pressure in certain ways. But, of course, it's nice to get a couple myself.
“I think the way that Lockie (Ferguson) has been coming in with the middle of the bowling, a lot of speed, a lot of pace and doing what he's been doing, it's been awesome to watch. It was nice for the bowling unit to stick together and get the job done.”
That is now three close games that New Zealand have been involved in, coming out on top against Bangladesh and South Africa prior to this victory, with Boult relishing the pressure at the death.
He added: “It's a bit special, to be honest. It's been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster sitting there with the pads at times and then being under the pump there with the ball. It's what it's all about.
“It's awesome to be a part of it. And I'm sure there will be a lot of proud Kiwis back home, diving into poached eggs, watching a result like that.
“It's nice to be put under pressure like that with both facets of the game there, and I'm sure that will give us a little bit of confidence moving hopefully deeper into the tournament.”
(International Cricket Council)