One of the greatest ODIs in cricket history
LONDON: England won the World Cup for the first time as they beat New Zealand in a dramatic Super Over after a nerve-shredding final ended in a tie at Lord’s yesterday. After Eoin Morgan’s side finished on 241 all out in pursuit of New Zealand’s 241-8, the final came down to a six-ball shootout for each team.
England’s Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler took 15 off Trent Boult’s over. Jofra Archer bowled England’s over against Martin Guptill and Jimmy Neesham, who smashed a six off the second ball. With two runs required off the final ball, wicketkeeper Jos Buttler and Jason Roy combined to run out Guptill as he came back for the second. Both sides finished on 15 so England won due to a tie-break rule because they hit more boundaries.
After defeats in previous finals against Pakistan in 1992, Australia in 1987 and the West Indies in 1979, it was a cathartic moment for English cricket. “My heart is still racing. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever won, a great bunch of fellas, a really good family to me,” Archer said. Stokes was in tears as England’s players danced joyously around the pitch.
“I’m pretty lost for words. All the hard work over four years, to get here and be champions of the world. It’s an amazing feeling. I’m pretty done,” Stokes said with an expression that mixed elation with bewilderment. “Playing against New Zealand is always a great event. They are a seriously good team and really good lads. I said to Kane Williamson I’ll be apologising for that for the rest of my life.”
Morgan and his teammates were cheered to the rafters by the ecstatic capacity crowd at Lord’s as they joined Bobby Moore’s 1966 footballers and Martin Johnson’s rugby union team of 2003 as England’s World Cup winners. “Wow! It’s hard to sum it up, what a day, what a tournament,” England batsman Joe Root said. “Everyone has done everything asked of them. We have performed under pressure, it was almost written in the stars for Ben Stokes.” England’s triumph was the culmination of a remarkable rise over the past four years.
Champagne super over
Following their dismal first round exit at the 2015 World Cup, England’s then director of cricket Andrew Strauss embarked on a root-and-branch reform of their one-day international set-up. Adopting an aggressive game-plan under Morgan and Australian coach Trevor Bayliss, England’s rebuilding plan paid off spectacularly.
They had already climbed to the top of the ODI rankings heading into the tournament and, after plenty of highs and lows over the past six weeks, they eventually justified their tag as the bookmakers’ pre-tournament favorites to win the World Cup. It was not an easy ride for England, whose defeats against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia in the group stage put them on the brink of elimination. But Morgan’s men kept their cool to defeat India and New Zealand and book a last-four spot before crushing Australia in the semi-finals and surviving one final test of their nerve against New Zealand in what will be remembered as a champagne super over.
While England celebrated, it was another heart-breaking loss for New Zealand, who also finished as runners-up in the previous World Cup in 2015 after losing to Australia in the final. “We knew we would have to fire a few shots. Credit to England for the way they stuck at it,” New Zealand’s Neesham said. “On another day the coin may have fallen our way. We’ll look back in a couple of years and say this was a pretty good experience.” – AFP