England won the World Cup for the first time ever on Sunday, holding their nerve to seal a thrilling Super Over victory against New Zealand after the final ended in a tie.
Eoin Morgan’s side finished on 241 all out in pursuit of New Zealand’s 241-8, sending the match at Lord’s to a six-ball shootout for each side.
England’s Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler took 15 off Trent Boult’s over before Jofra Archer stepped up to bowl against Martin Guptill and Jimmy Neesham.
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.
That meant the host nation won on superior boundary count, sparking wild scenes of celebration at the “home of cricket”.
England, who have often cited a humiliating defeat by New Zealand at the 2015 World Cup as the catalyst for their climb to the top of the one-day international rankings, finally have a World Cup win to go with their three losing appearances in the 1979, 1987 and 1992 finals.
However, it was New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson who ended up on the losing side on Sunday. Here’s the full text of his press conference.
Kane, commiserations. Can you simply sum up your emotions right now?
Yeah, obviously, just gutted. You know, the guys put in a huge amount of work to get this opportunity, to come here and play in another World Cup final and to pretty much do all you could and still not perhaps get across the line with some small margins and I think throughout this whole campaign in a lot of my press conferences I have spoken about ‘uncontrollables’ and there were a couple today that were pretty hard to swallow.
Once again, take nothing away from England’s campaign, not just this match, but throughout, all the cricket they have played, they are deserving winners. Well either side walking away with the title today probably feels fortunate having it go down to a tie after regular time and then I think another one, wasn’t it, after six more balls? So, yeah, one of those things, hey.
When you put 241 on – what was your target? You have been pretty good at predicting what a pitch’s score should be?
Yeah, we sort of wanted 250, 260. We knew that it wasn’t easy and we were expecting it to dry a little bit more and it did do that and I think we saw in the first sort of 10 overs the movement that we were able to get and we were able to pick up those early wickets and I think that was due to the pitch and the bowlers putting the ball in great areas which they have done all tournament.
Yeah, I mean, it’s very difficult to, I suppose, look at one or two areas when the margin is so small and you could look at anything. Yeah, I think the thing you walk away with is the amount of heart and the amount of fight the guys have shown throughout this whole campaign, but probably none more than the match we have just witnessed and both sides showed that today and it did come down to – I don’t know how they won it – what was it, boundaries or something? (Smiling) Someone had to walk away with the title and we’re gutted that it’s not us. England had a very good campaign and they deserve the victory.
A boundary countback, is that a fair way of deciding a World Cup Final?
I suppose you never thought you would have to ask that question and I never thought I would have to answer it (smiling). Yeah, while the emotions are raw it is pretty hard to swallow when two teams have worked really, really hard to get to this moment in time and when sort of two attempts to separate them with a winner and a loser it still doesn’t perhaps sort of shine with one side coming through, you know. It is what it is, really. The rules are there at the start.
No-one probably thought they would have to sort of result to some of that stuff. But yeah, very tough to swallow. A great game of cricket and all you guys probably enjoyed it.
As to everyone else, I think they are still here, they want more (smiling). But we are looking forward to putting our feet up now and having a bit of a chat and reflection about our campaign.
Before the start of the match, did you plan for a ‘super over’ strategy? You could have probably come out, Martin Guptill wasn’t in the greatest of forms in the tournament, so what was the strategy before the match?
He is such a fast runner and that is all he had to do and he was short by a little bit. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. Yeah, we didn’t really do a lot of ‘super over’ practice but at the same time it’s cricket and guys do work on hitting the ball out of the park and that’s all that was required. Yeah, we tied that too, didn’t we? It is one of those days (smiling).
Kane, is it any consolation that people who watched this game will remember the Black Caps for two moments of outstanding sportsmanship? One when you signaled that Trent Boult had stood on the rope, so it wasn’t a six when you were that close to dismissing Ben Stokes? Those things are remembered by spectators.
Yeah, I suppose we have just finished the game, haven’t we, so whether people will talk about it in years to come we will have to find out. It was a fantastic game to be a part of. It is quite hard to look at it in a rational way when we have just been through what we’ve been through.
Judging by the people that are still hanging around and the support that was there long after the match was finished, clearly, it was a great spectacle for everybody.
Q. You mentioned the ‘uncontrollables’. Another one when the ball hit Ben Stokes’ bat. What were you thinking? I guess no hard feelings or do you think the rule could change?
(Laughter) The rule has been there for a long time. I don’t think it’s – I don’t think anything like that’s happened where you now question it. But look, it’s – you can’t sort of look at that and think that perhaps that decided the match.
There were so many other bits and pieces to that game that were so important. When it comes down to a tie, you start looking at every single delivery, don’t you? It was a pretty tough pill to swallow that when, yeah, when we were looking pretty likely with Trent bowling really, really well, so one of those things.
Kane, a final like this, which thrilled us to the end, how does it raise the profile of the sport that is followed so widely across the world?
Yeah, everybody loved it? The English loved it more than we did, I think (smiling). It was a brilliant game of cricket. Always a little bit bitter when you are on the right side of the result.
But, hopefully, as a side, and I think the English side will feel the same, that you do play this game to help grow the game and hopefully the sport sort of grows in your country and people start enjoying or perhaps attracting new viewers and that’s always a really important part to what you do and hopefully that achieves something like that today.
But sort of pretty hard to consider those things right at this point in time when you’re still reeling a little bit from some small margins, but naturally a great game of cricket and yeah, I think everybody who watched really appreciated it.
You say if you lose the World Cup final there will be some sorrow and also disappointment and probably anger, mistakes you have done over the four years back. In this scenario, what could you be sad about? What could you be angry about? How do you react? What do you take away from this ending, apart from just laughing at it, what else can you do?
Laugh or cry, it’s your choice, isn’t it? It’s not anger. There’s a lot of disappointment, I suppose. Yeah, the guys are really feeling it and I think it’s probably more down to some of the uncontrollables that go on when they have put in such a huge amount of effort and we know in this game it can be fickle in its nature and there are parts that, as hard as you try, sometimes those cards don’t fall your way and today it ebbed and flowed.
But the guys stuck with it beautifully well and they showed that heart and that fight that we have shown throughout this whole campaign to get us into winning positions and we saw that again today and I think we sort of, after perhaps 85-90 percent of that second innings, we had our noses in front and yeah, no doubt a lot of thoughts are going, well certainly through my mind, but obviously through all the other players as well, where, you know, it could have been this, could have been that, but it is what it is.
Kane, the same number of runs in the innings and the same number of runs in the over. Do you say that the rule beat you or what do you conclude?
The rules are there I guess, aren’t they, and certainly something you don’t consider going into the match that maybe if we could have an extra boundary and then tied two attempts at winning it we will get across the line and they didn’t think that either.
I don’t even know what the boundary count was but we were slightly behind. Yeah, very, very tough to – yeah, there you go (smiling).
Kane, I know we are harking back to different moments. The first ball of England’s innings, you get Jason Roy on the pads. Do you understand looking at that review how it wasn’t overturned and given out? Secondly, do you think that makes a difference? If you knock over a wicket first ball, it probably does.
I think (smiling) once again, you know, it is similar stuff and you come down to a tie at the end of 50 overs each. You have small margins like that, you have other sorts of human decisions that can go one way or another and that is just part and parcel of the sport.
Guys moved on from that and a number of other parts in that match that would have been nice if they snuck our way, but you do get moments to go your way as well at different stages and you do move on and you don’t let it distract you and I think that is probably the more positive part to that scenario in particular and a number of other parts to it as well where obviously we speak about the last few overs, but the guys moved on from that, applied themselves well in the six-ball game but, yeah, obviously not quite enough.
Kane, how much have you been aware of the impact the team has had back home and what legacy will this World Cup have on cricket in New Zealand?
I have heard that a lot of people are enjoying it. I haven’t had a huge amount of contact from back home and I suppose being in another country and every game’s felt like an away match. Obviously being a slightly smaller country than a few others. But it’s great, isn’t it, when sport can have an impact on a country.
And I think the way you play it and obviously getting into different stages of the tournament and it attracts a little bit of attention and we can only hope that the people back home enjoyed what we were able to achieve and hopefully the way that we played the game and I just hope that there was that enjoyment and perhaps a few kids might start playing a bit of cricket and all these sorts of things. We will have to wait and see when we head back and hopefully there’s a bit of interest there.
It was a day that was hard to take, but it was a day that you were also named player of the tournament for both batting and a captaincy perspective. How much pride can you take from that and how pleased are you with your individual performances throughout the tournament?
Individual performance is only a contribution to something greater than yourself and that is the team. The idea is that you are helping your team get across the line and the only thing you can perhaps think of at this point in time is what more I could have done and when the margin is so small. I think all the guys should take a lot of pride in what they have been able to achieve throughout this whole campaign and individual accolades are very much secondary to the efforts that everybody within the whole squad, the support staff as well, we are all putting into the bucket and I think that was huge in us getting the opportunity to being here in the final and playing some really, really competitive cricket in this final as well, so that is always the focus.
You have used a few different phrases, the ‘uncontrollables’ and ‘thin margins’...
‘Dogs’ as well, I have used ‘dogs’.
Would you agree that one way of looking at it is down to luck, that you are not sitting there as a World Cup-winning captain especially with what happened with Guptill’s throw hit Stokes’ bat... Is it just luck that you are not...
I guess – ‘uncontrollables’ I suppose to mean that you can’t control them, can you? So it is up to someone else, I don’t know (smiling).
Yeah, I guess there is a bit of that at times, and the game that we play where there are so many variables and whether it is the surface, the opposition, any sort of condition that can have an influence, but that is why the game is so great I think. It can be – on any given day anything can happen, there is not much constant about it and we saw that in this match and in a lot of other matches as well.
Kane, I asked this question standing because of my respect for you, the way you have conducted... Do you think the cricketers in the competition, you are happy, or everybody should be a gentleman like you?
(Laughter) Everybody is allowed to be themselves. That is a good thing about the world. And everybody should be a little bit different as well. A really difficult question to answer. That is probably my best answer, just be yourself and try and enjoy what you do (laughter).