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’.”
Ben Stokes was labelled “almost superhuman” as he inspired England to World Cup glory for the first time after a thrilling denouement to their final against New Zealand at Lord’s.
England’s chances of overhauling New Zealand’s 241 for eight seemed to be forlorn but under the utmost pressure, Stokes held his nerve to contribute an unbeaten 84 to leave the scores tied at the end of a dramatic 100 overs.
Despite showing clear signs of fatigue, Stokes returned to bat in a super over, putting on 15 alongside Jos Buttler.
There was a further twist in the tale when Jimmy Neesham and Martin Guptill took 14 from Jofra Archer’s first five balls.
But scampering back for a second from the final delivery of the match, Guptill was short of his ground after Jason Roy’s throw from deep midwicket enabled Buttler to lop off the bails, giving England victory by the unlikely method of registering more boundaries across a riveting contest.
That would have been inconceivable without Stokes’ efforts, with England captain Eoin Morgan in no doubt as to the significance of his talismanic all-rounder’s contribution.
Morgan said: “To come through it is extraordinary. He’s almost superhuman. He has really carried the team and our batting line-up.
“To bat with the lower order the way he did, I thought was incredible. He managed to deal with the emotion and atmosphere in an incredibly experienced manner.
“Hopefully everyone watching at home will try to be the next Ben Stokes.”
Stokes’ previous final in an England shirt ended in heartbreak when he conceded four successive sixes as the freewheeling Carlos Brathwaite secured the World Twenty20 crown for the West Indies in 2016.
Morgan added: “A lot of careers would have been ended after what happened in Kolkata. But Ben has stood up individually, and in the unit for us, a huge number of times since then.
“Here he’s had a huge day out, and we’re thankful for that.”
Stokes recognised the magnitude of the finale, watched on by 30,000 at the home of cricket, a mass gathering at Trafalgar Square and a bumper audience, swelled by being broadcast on free-to-air television.
At the presentation ceremony, he said: “I’m pretty lost for words. All the hard work that’s gone in over these four years, this is where we aspired to be.
“To do it with such a game, I don’t think there will be another like this in the history of cricket.
“The lads, in this one-day team, the Test team, my family, their support has been massive. Now I’m just looking forward to tonight.”
Following his exertions with the bat, Stokes even had some wise words for Archer in the heat of battle.
The young paceman said: “Stokesy came over and told me, win or lose, today will not define me as a player.”
Morgan attended the press conference with the World Cup trophy after leading England to their first global 50-over title, ending 44 years of disappointment in this tournament.
Morgan said: “This means absolutely everything. It’s been an absolutely incredible journey. I still can’t quite believe it, that’s why I’m carrying it around as much as I can.”
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Morgan recognised there were moments that went in England’s favour, most notably in the final over when a diving Stokes unintentionally made contact with the ball as he stretched to make his ground, leading to four overthrows.
He added: “It was the most incredible game of cricket, with nothing between the sides. It was the finest of margins, and it could have gone either way.
“I spoke to Adil (Rashid) and he said that Allah was with us. So Allah was with us as well.
“I commend the Blackcaps and Kane (Williamson, New Zealand captain), they’ve been absolutely incredible. Admirable spirit, the fight they’ve shown.”
Asked about his future, Morgan added: “We’ll let the dust settle. We’ll celebrate as hard as we can and then reflect.”
Morgan and the rest of the team will celebrate the World Cup victory at the Kia Oval in Kennington, Surrey, on Monday morning.
Gates are open to the public at 10.30am and the team will arrive at 11.30am.