Man-of-the-match Ben Stokes hailed England’s dramatic World Cup final victory over New Zealand as the best game in cricket history.
After the match was tied at the end of the 50 overs, underpinned by Stokes’ unbeaten 84, England then beat New Zealand in the super over courtesy of striking more boundaries throughout the course of the entire game
An exhausted Stokes told Sky Sports: “I’m pretty lost for words. All that hard work for four years and now to be stood here as champions of the world, it’s an amazing feeling.
“This is where we aspired to be and to manage to come here and do it in such a good game, I don’t think there will ever be a better game of cricket in history than that.
“Playing against New Zealand is always tough, they’re a seriously good team. We had some luck at times and I said to Kane (Williamson) that I will be apologising for what happened for the rest of my life.”
Stokes was referring to an incident late in the final over of the 50 which saw him diving to beat Martin Guptill’s throw, inadvertently steering the ball to the ropes for four runs.
Stokes and Jos Buttler resumed for the historic super over, both hitting a boundary as they set a winning target of 16.
Despite conceding a six to Jimmy Neesham in his super over, Jofra Archer bowled superbly given the pressure on the 24-year-old’s shoulders.
Stokes added: “There was no chance I wasn’t going to be there at the end.
“It’s moments like that you live for as a professional cricketer and the new kid on the block, Jofra Archer, I backed him all the way.
“The talent he’s got is incredible, and he’s showed it on the world stage.”
England captain Eoin Morgan praised both his own players and those of New Zealand following an epic final.
“There wasn’t a lot in that game,” said Morgan.
“I’d like to congratulate New Zealand for the way they played. The spirit and fight they showed are worth aspiring to, and the example they lead is commendable.
“We were up against it but Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes put together a partnership that we really needed.
“This has been a four-year journey and we have developed a lot over those four years, but particularly in the last two.
“We find it hard to play on wickets like that – as many good teams around the world do – but it was about playing cricket to get over the line and we managed to do that and it means the world to us.”
After being named the player of the tournament, New Zealand captain Williamson said: “To lose by one run is tough.
“There are so many parts of that match that could have gone either way. But congratulations to England, they’ve had a fantastic campaign and they deserve the victory.”
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