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.”
Kane Williamson branded New Zealand’s World Cup final defeat due to an inferior boundary count as “hard to swallow”.
The Blackcaps skipper hailed champions England, who edged out his side after a tied super over, the World Cup’s version of extra time.
England swept the title by virtue of hitting more boundaries, where the two sides were tied on 241 runs, with the super over stint being tied on 15 runs apiece.
New Zealand lost their second straight World Cup final with England sealing their maiden triumph, leaving Williamson lamenting a hefty amount of “uncontrollables” in defeat.
Asked if he felt the super over rules are fair, Williamson said: “I never thought I’d have to answer that question. While the emotions are raw it’s pretty hard to swallow.
“Two teams have worked really hard to get to this moment in time.
“So when two attempts to separate them with a winner and a loser still didn’t perhaps shine, it just is what it is.
“The rules are there are the start. No-one probably thought we’d have to resort to that. But it was a great game of cricket.
“Everyone is still here, they want more. But we’re looking forward to putting our feet up now and reflecting on the tournament.”
Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes’ match-high 110-run partnership dragged England from 86 for four to 241 all out.
Stokes could so easily have been out and England’s game up when he appeared to hole out to Trent Boult on the boundary rope.
Boult stepped on the rope in fielding the catch, however, and the Kiwi quick had the sportsmanship to admit his crucial transgression.
Stokes wound up 84 not out in the 50 over section and then he and Buttler steered England to 15 in the super over.
New Zealand matched that super over tally to leave the title decided on boundary count, with England’s 26 trumping the Blackcaps’ 17.
England’s eventual 241 also involved another controversial moment, when Martin Guptill’s shy at the stumps deflected off Stokes’ bat for four byes.
Quizzed on that incident, Williamson said: “The rule has been there for a long time.
“I don’t think anything like that has ever happened. But you can’t look at that and think that perhaps that decided the match.
“There were so many other pieces to that game that were so important.
A special day @homeofcricket Congratulations to englandcricket on winning the icccricketcup2019 @BLACKCAPS you guys are fantastic and so proud of your performance on and off the field. Today NZL made sporting… https://t.co/zPkqSqoPCJ— Sean Fitzpatrick (@SFitzpatrick92) 14 July 2019
“It was a pretty tough pill to swallow that, yeah, when we were looking pretty likely with Trent bowling pretty well.”
And asked to comment on Boult’s sporting act of admitting Stokes was not caught but had hit a six, Williamson added: “I suppose we’ve just finished the game, but whether people talk about it in years to come we’ll have to find out.
“It is quite hard to look at it in a rational way when we’ve just been through that. But judging by the support clearly this was a great spectacle.
“Whether to laugh or cry, it’s your choice, isn’t it. It’s not anger for us, a lot of disappointment I suppose. The guys are really feeling it.
“Today it ebbed and flowed but the guys stuck with it beautifully well. The rules are there I guess, aren’t they?
“I don’t even know what the boundary count was, but obviously we were slightly behind.”
Jofra Archer has revealed how a timely word from Ben Stokes helped him stay cool enough to deliver the super over that sealed England’s first World Cup.
Archer only made his international debut in May but when the moment came to make one last push for glory – after both sides tied on 241 runs – it was the 24-year-old who took his place in the spotlight.
England’s batting heroes, Stokes and Jos Buttler, had just posted 15 in their six-ball shootout and the hosts needed someone to defend the mark.
Archer instantly nominated himself and captain Eoin Morgan agreed. It was the most pressurised over any England bowler has sent down since Stokes was clubbed for four successive sixes by Carlos Brathwaite in the final moments of the World T20 three years ago.
“Stokesy came over and told me, win or lose, today will not define me as a player,” said Archer.
“He probably went through the same emotions and the same feeling when he bowled the last over and that is why he came over to me,” added Archer.
“Stokesy told me that even if we lost it wouldn’t be the end of the world, that everyone believes in me, but I’m just so pleased we won.
“If we’d lost I don’t know what I’d have done but thankfully I don’t have to think about that now.”
Archer has been the picture of composure in the early days of his international career.
However, when the triumphant moment came, courtesy of Jason Roy and Jos Buttler’s shared run out of Martin Guptill, he said: “Man, it was serious, serious passion.
“I can’t imagine a better group of guys to win with. I can’t put it into words, I can’t believe we won.
“It has been the best time of my life so far, making my debut and winning the World Cup in the space of two months is really, really special. Hopefully I can look back in 10-15 years and say ‘I was part of that’.”