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.
England’s cricketers wrote their names into the history books at Lord’s, winning their first Cricket World Cup title in a final that will go down as one of the most dramatic ever produced in team sport.
It seemed as though nothing could separate them from New Zealand, with the sides battling to an unprecedented tie, both sides locked on 241 after 100 overs of nerve-shredding tension that cast Ben Stokes as the home side’s hero of the hour.
That paved the way for a super over, a six-ball shoot-out that had only occurred 11 times in international history and never before in an ODI.
Incredibly, the teams went blow-for-blow once again, Stokes and Jos Buttler hitting 15 off Trent Boult before Jofra Archer conceded 14 off his first five deliveries.
The Barbados-born bowler, the least experienced player on either side, held his nerve as Martin Guptill forced the ball into the off-side and came back for a second that would have taken the trophy.
Enter Jason Roy, who picked up cleanly despite unimaginable pressure and hurled a flat, decisive throw towards Buttler, who scattered the stumps as Guptill scrambled.
Tied once again, England triumphed on account of boundaries scored in the original 50-over match, a technocratic decider in a contest that proved impossible to settle any other way.
Copy provided by Press Association Sport
The importance of Liam Plunkett to England’s 2019 ICC World Cup campaign was highlighted once again with the pacer playing a starring role in the final at Lord’s against New Zealand on Sunday.
While all eyes on Sunday were on England’s express pacers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, it was Plunkett who turned out to be the destroyer-in-chief for the hosts with three crucial scalps in the middle overs.
The 24-year-old returned with figures of 3-42 and his performance was the centrepiece of England’s strong and disciplined bowling display which saw New Zealand restricted to 241-8 in their 50 overs.
Here, we take a closer look at Plunkett’s showing in the World Cup final after New Zealand elected to bat first.
Runs conceded: 42
After losing opener Martin Guptill early to Chris Woakes, New Zealand had recovered well through a promising stand between Henry Nicholls and skipper Kane Williamson. Their 74-run stand was broken in the 23rd over by Plunkett who found a faint outside edge off Williamson’s bat with an excellent cross-seam delivery.
Moments later, the veteran dismissed the other well-set batsman in Nicholls after getting the left-hander to play on to his stumps. Those two dismissals derailed the Kiwi momentum and Plunkett then put England on top when he ended the stay of the dangerous James Neesham in his final spell.
Plunkett used the cross-seam delivery to deadly effect at Lord’s with all three of his dismissals coming in that mode. The one to dismiss Williamson moved just slightly away in the air at the last moment to deceive the New Zealand skipper and the same movement proved to be Nicholls’ downfall when he attempted to drive at a delivery too close to his body.
With the ball just holding up on the Lord’s surface, the cross-seamer turned out to be the perfect weapon and Plunkett was able to extract maximum reward from it.
He also maintained excellent control throughout and did not concede a single wide or no-ball in his 10 overs.
Liam Plunkett and the middle overs.— England's Barmy Army (@TheBarmyArmy) July 14, 2019
Name a more iconic duo... we'll wait. pic.twitter.com/zRbeoBME6t
The medium-pacer barely erred in his second and third spells by giving the batsman little room although he was slightly off target in his first spell with a newer ball.
His first spell of three overs did little to trouble Williamson and Nicholls while also leaking a few boundaries. To his credit, Plunkett adjusted his lines and lengths brilliantly in his subsequent spells.
VERDICT – 9/10
He isn’t the flashiest of bowlers but Plunkett has been quietly effective for England all tournament long in the middle overs. He has reinvented himself constantly over the course of his career and now seems to understand his role in the team to perfection.
His dismissals of Williamson and Nicholls were crucial in wrestling back the initiative for England and ensured that the Kiwis were not able to build a solid foundation. England have had to drop Moeen Ali to make way for Plunkett but that decision has been vindicated completely with the medium pacer now extending his tournament tally to 11 wickets in seven appearances.