jontyi was there when Jonty Rhodes did the unthinkable, throwing himself through the air and demolishing Inzamam Ul Haq’s stumps to run him out and change fielding in cricket forever.

Well, i mean i wasn’t actually there, but i was at home watching on my tv and my love affair with cricket had just recently started and that moment sucked me in and injected some cricket-watching D.N.A. into my blood.

i was there for the disappointment of 22 runs off 13 balls becoming 22 runs off 7 balls becoming the ultimate ignomy of 22 runs off 1 ball – still, it was England bowling so anything was possible. But that loss hurt.

As did the Allan Donald run-out in the Lance Klusener world cup where he had saved us game after game but this was one game too many. As had the Herschelle Gibbs “You just dropped the world cup” catch and the Steve Waugh century that followed. And that Zimbabwe game that came back to haunt us…

As did the misreading of Duckworth Lewis.

As did the demolition by New Zealand.

But this year was meant to be our year. With AB Devilliers on an all-time high and with Hashim Amla dominating attack after attack, with Steyn destroying and Tahir picking up the pieces, and with Faf and Miller finally gaining some consistency and scoring some regular runs. i have never been more confident before a world cup that we had the team to win it.

Then came the Zimbabwe game. A little too close, but we were warming up into it.

And the India game. That hurt. And i really thought we had the team to chase an even bigger score had they gotten it, with India looking like one of the weaker attacks in the competition.

We needed to have a big one to restore my confidence and West Indies was that.

But then Pakistan and a target we really should have gotten to took the air out of my lungs again. Was this going to be another one of those world cups.

proteasAnd today, as we head into ‘battle’ with Sri Lanka, and a team we really should be capable of beating on most days, i think most people believe that we are going to find a way to lose it. My stomach is part of those most people. My head is screaming at me to just give in and admit that it’s probably going to happen. My Improv partner-in-rhyme Megan Furniss has probably run out of nails pre-game and is chewing on a corner of the sofa [she’s probably not!] and as much as she desperately wants to believe [and will be stressed out by my optimistic tweets throughout the game no matter how it is going] she is strongly suspecting that this will be a repeat…

But against all that, i choose to believe!

This is going to be different.

Today is the day we win our first knockout game and the impetus from that will propel our confidence to new heights and make the next two a breeze in comparison.

This. Is our world cup final.

Today.

And i choose to believe.

Nervously, for sure.

But because i KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that we have the team to do it. We don’t need to play an exceptional game of cricket. We just need to play our traditional game of cricket.

i’m not sure if they’re going to do anything different at the top because QDK has been killing us with his nervousness and bad run of form. If he gets going and gets going well it will be game over before it starts. But will they drop him down a little in the hopes that we can get a solid opening platform – Rilee and Amla or even Faf and Amla. But if he does start, then he really needs to get a score – even a quick 30 off 15 will be good enough to get us out of those starting blocks at pace.

We have the team to do this. AB needs to not be doing it alone.

It is time for the fire to be lit. And for the game to be won. Come on ‘boys’ – i believe in you.

Who is with me?

[And whichever way the result goes, i back you guys – you have entertained me well through the years – you’re my team, win or lose. But win!]