England won the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup for the first time as they clinched a thrilling final after a Super Over in Sunday’s final at Lord’s, London.
Chasing a target of 242 to win, England finished their 50 overs at 241 all out, forcing the first Super Over in One-Day International history. With both teams scoring 15 runs in the Super Over, England emerged winners on the count of boundaries hit in the match (24 to 16).
Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, who kick-started England’s resurgence in the run-chase, combined to score 15 runs in that over by Trent Boult, with both batsmen hitting a boundary each. Jimmy Neesham, then, put New Zealand on the brink of a win with a six off the second ball of the Jofra Archer over. The match then finished with Martin Guptill getting run out off the last ball, leaving England in seventh heaven.
Left-handed batsman Stokes, born in Christchurch, New Zealand, but brought up in England, turned out to be the hero of the final and won the player of the match award.
A ‘tied’ match
In normal time too, England were looking to Stokes and Buttler to take them to a first World Cup title after New Zealand sparked a top-order collapse. But Lockie Ferguson had Buttler slicing one to substitute Tim Southee at deep point, the ‘keeper getting dismissed for a fine 60-ball 59.
Ferguson then had Chris Woakes (2 off 4) skying one to Tom Latham to leave the hosts needing 39 off 23 balls with three wickets in hand. The pacer finished with 3/50 from his 10 overs and at that point England needed 34 from the final three overs.
Trent Boult then conceded 10 runs in the 48th over to leave hosts needing 24 off the last 12 balls. Bowling the 49th over, all-rounder Jimmy Neesham removed bowling hero Liam Plunkett. Then, in a dramatic moment, Stokes hit a slower ball towards long on where Boult took the catch but touched the boundary rope with his feet at the last moment, resulting in a six.
Neesham finished the over with the wicket of rcher and the equation was then 15 from the last over, with Stokes facing Boult.
The left-arm pacer started off with two dot balls before Stokes smashed a sweep over mid-wicket for a six. Then there was more drama, with Stokes hitting the ball to deep mid-wicket. He ran back for two, the throw from the deep hit Stokes and the ball rolled to the boundary line: resulting in six runs by law, even though Stokes apologised. After a lengthy discussion, the match resumed with England needing 3 off 2 balls.
Stokes hit the ball to long off and returned to take strike, with Adil Rashid getting run out. Two runs, one ball. Stokes on strike, England could manage only a run with Mark Wood running out at the non-striker’s end resulting in a Super Over.
When the run-chase began, favourites England were in trouble at 86/4 as Stokes and Buttler joined forces.
But with 10 overs left, the host nation had recovered to 170/4, needing a further 72 runs for victory against 2015 runners-up New Zealand, who were also looking for their first World Cup win.
In the end, there was the finest of margins separating the two sides.
Read the first innings report here
Earlier, fast bowler Liam Plunkett dismissed New Zealand captain and star batsman Kane Williamson for just 30 before removing established opener Henry Nicholls for an innings-best 55 in a return of 3/42 from his 10 overs. Chris Woakes followed up with 3/37 as New Zealand finished on 241/8.
New Zealand successfully defended a total of 239 in their shock semi-final win over India, when they reduced one of the world’s strongest batting line-up to 24/4.
And Trent Boult almost struck with the first ball of England’s chase when he appealed for lbw against Jason Roy but South African umpire Marais Erasmus’s original not out decision was upheld.
Roy, who made a blistering 85 in a comfortable semi-final win over reigning champions Australia, got England going with a straight-driven four off Matt Henry.
Roy and Jonny Bairstow, by average the best opening pair in ODI history, had posted four consecutive century stands coming into the final.
But New Zealand got the breakthrough they needed when Henry induced Roy, on 17, to edge a full-length delivery that just carried to wicketkeeper Tom Latham.
That left England , who thrashed New Zealand by 119 runs in a group match, 28/1 in the sixth over. New batsman Joe Root never looked comfortable while making seven off 30 balls and was caught behind to leave England 59/2.
Bairstow had enjoyed a huge reprieve on 18 when Colin de Grandhomme dropped a routine caught-and-bowled chance but fast bowler Lockie Ferguson got him to play on for 36.
Jimmy Neesham took a wicket with his first ball, with England captain Eoin Morgan falling for just nine when an uppercut was brilliantly caught low down by Ferguson running in from deep point.
But Stokes and Buttler revived England with some well-struck boundaries. Williamson chose to bat after winning the toss in overcast conditions and on a green pitch but opener Martin Guptill, the leading run-scorer at the 2015 World Cup, was lbw to Woakes for 19.
That left number three Williamson, who started the match with 548 runs in the tournament at an average of 91.33, having to mount yet another rescue mission.
But after putting on 74 for the second wicket with Nicholls, he fell when he edged a rising cross-seamer from Plunkett to wicketkeeper Buttler.
New Zealand found themselves at 118/3 when Plunkett struck for the second time in 14 balls.
Nicholls, who had completed a 71-ball fifty, was out for 55 when he played on after being cramped for room by a Plunkett delivery that curved back into him and veteran Ross Taylor could only manage 15 before falling lbw to Mark Wood.
Latham defiantly hit Wood for a six but his valuable 47 off 56 balls ended when he chipped a low Woakes full toss to mid-off.
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. He was adjudged the player of the match.
“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.”
(With AFP inputs)