There’s always a first time. For England, it took 44 years to achieve that first — a 50-over World Cup title — that too, at Lord’s, the ‘Home of Cricket’!
In front of a packed crowd, England defeated New Zealand, riding on a Super Over — another first in the history of the World Cup. After some nerve-racking cricket, the host clinched it, based on a boundaries count-back — something not many knew about till the World Cup final.
With both the teams scoring 241 after the regulation 50-overs-a-side, a Super Over was introduced to break the tie. But even that wasn’t enough to separate the two teams as both scored 15 in six balls. In the end, England prevailed because it hit a total of 26 boundaries — scored across 50 overs and the Super Over — compared to New Zealand’s 17.
Even as England was declared the winner, confusion prevailed with none of the players sure about what exactly happened. The New Zealand cricketers looked dejected, while it was an over the moon moment for the English players. As the celebrations began in the stands, Jos Buttler could be seen throwing his gloves into the sky and celebrating the big moment.
For New Zealand, it was heartbreak as it lost its second consecutive World Cup final.
Opting to bat first, New Zealand put up 241 for the loss of eight wickets. In reply, England was reeling at 86 for four before a 110-run stand between Buttler (59) and Ben Stokes (84) took the match down to the wire.
However, luck too had a role to play in England’s win.
With 22 required to win off the last nine deliveries, Stokes went for a big one over long-on. It was caught by Trent Boult, but he fell back, his foot touching the boundary rope, before releasing the ball. It was signalled a six!
In the last over, England required 15 runs. After two dot balls by Boult, Stokes slammed a six over mid-wicket. Nine runs were needed off three balls.
The next delivery, too, fetched six runs, albeit in a very unsusual manner. Stokes hit to deep mid-wicket and dived to complete the second run. As Martin Guptill fired in his throw, the ball struck Stokes’ bat and deflected off it and went to the boundary for another four runs.
There were doubts on whether England would be awarded five or six runs, but the on-field umpires indicated that it was six — two runs, along with a four.
After the match, Kane Williamson said: “That was a bit of a shame wasn’t it? That’s the game we play. You can’t nitpick, it just wasn’t meant to be…”
Even though his team suffered yet another defeat in a World Cup final, Williamson was named as the Player of the Tournament.
In the past, England had reached the final thrice, but ended up losing on all the occasions. But at Lord’s, history was created as the World Cup saw a new champion.
For England, it came home, finally!
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