England’s excruciating wait for a maiden ICC World Cup trophy ended at Lord’s on Sunday with the hosts prevailing via a Super Over in a thriller of a final to break New Zealand’s hearts.
Both teams scored 15 runs apiece in a super over that was as thrilling as the regulation match but England clinched the grand prize because they scored more boundaries than New Zealand.
A commanding bowling display had earlier seen Eoin Morgan’s men restrict New Zealand to 241-8 but they were made to sweat in a dramatic run-chase by a spirited Kiwis with the scores ultimately tied after 50 overs.
Ben Stokes nearly took England across the finish line with a sensational unbeaten innings of 84 but he was able to score just the one run off the final delivery bowled by Trent Boult when two were required for an outright win.
The Blackcaps made early inroads with Matt Henry dismissing the in-form Jason Roy before Lockie Ferguson got into the action. The pacer dismissed a well-set Jonny Bairstow before completing a stunning catch in the deep to end Morgan’s stay at the crease.
A scratchy Joe Root edged a Colin de Grandhomme delivery into the hands of Tom Latham as England found themselves reeling before Stokes and Buttler turned it around.
The pair added a 110-run stand for the fifth wicket while bringing up their respective half-centuries before Ferguson brought the Kiwis roaring back into the game with the wickets of Buttler and Chris Woakes.
Stokes continued to march on as wickets continued to tumble at the other end with the equation eventually coming down to 15 required off the final over. Stokes struck one huge six before scoring another six off the next ball through a deflected overthrow to the boundary.
Earlier, New Zealand managed to get the rub of the green in the toss but Martin Guptill’s early dismissal meant that they made a poor start with the bat. Kane Williamson (30) and Henry Nicholls (55) attempted to repair the damage with a 74-run stand but Liam Plunkett sent back both the set batsmen in an excellent second spell to put England in command.
Mark Wood trapped Ross Taylor lbw to a contentious decision before Plunkett had James Neesham caught in the deep to put the Kiwis in further trouble. Tom Latham led a minor fightback for the Black Caps with a gritty innings of 47 but England pacers Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer were excellent at the death to keep them restricted to 241-8.
The star all-rounder has been in sensational form throughout the tournament but has been unfortunate to end up on the losing side against Australia and Sri Lanka despite playing gritty knocks of 89 and 82 respectively.
He didn’t exactly finish the job for the hosts on Sunday in the regulation 50 overs either but his stupendous effort helped England claw themselves back into the game just when all hope looked extinguished. It was another fighting display from Stokes filled with plenty of gumption and he followed it up by another stellar showing in the super over where he struck eight runs off just three deliveries.
Deflected overthrow proves costly for Kiwis
There were many game-changing moments in the match in the decisive final overs but the one that hurt New Zealand the most was the deflected overthrow that went for six runs ultimately.
England required 9 runs off three deliveries with Stokes at the crease before the left-hander struck a Boult delivery to the on-side. The all-rounder charged through for a quick second before putting in a dive to make the crease.
It was at that moment that the throw from the deep struck Stokes and deflected to the boundary ropes behind the wicketkeeper. What should have been two runs, ultimately turned into six and proved to be the difference between a World Cup final win and a loss in the end for New Zealand.
That freakish 4 overthrow of the bat from Stokes being England’s luck. Has been an incredible finals. Super-over #EngvsNZ— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) July 14, 2019
England are now the second World Cup champions to have lost more than two matches overall in the competition. The hosts tasted losses against Pakistan, Australia and Sri Lanka in the round-robin phase before going on a strong run to capture the trophy.
Previously, no team had lost more than two matches in a World Cup apart from Pakistan in the 1992 edition who also lost three games on their way to the title.
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