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Eoin Morgan is sprayed with champagne as he holds the trophy aloft © Getty Images
Eoin Morgan is sprayed with champagne as he holds the trophy aloft © Getty Images

England seal world cup

(ESPNCricinfo) – IT was never going to be easy, was it? Two teams without a World Cup title between them in 44 years of the men’s competition. After 100 overs, the last couple of which contained almost as much drama as a few previous finals in their entirety, nothing could separate England and New Zealand. For the first time in World Cup history, a Super Over was required to determine the winner.

Asked to score 16 from six balls, Jimmy Neesham struck Jofra Archer’s second legitimate delivery way back into the Mound Stand, making it seven needed from four.
A brace of twos followed, before Archer’s bumper took Neesham off strike.

Martin Guptill, at the end of a tournament of personal trial, asked to hit two more otherwise England would take the trophy on boundaries scored.
Archer found a yorker, Guptill found deep midwicket and Jason Roy’s throw found Guptill short; Jos Buttler completed a full-length stumping to end all those years of hurt and an afternoon of exquisite agony.

England had only got close in their chase thanks to Buttler and Ben Stokes, whose 110-run stand lifted the home nation from peril at 86 for 4. The pair walked out again to scramble 15 from an over of Trent Boult: pressure back on New Zealand.

They responded by sending out Neesham, a man who not so long ago was contemplating quitting the game, to face Archer, in his 14th ODI. Only one man could finish a hero.
That said, there were heroes aplenty on both sides.

For the second game in succession, New Zealand put up a score in the region of 240 and defended it with every fibre of their Blackcapped beings.
Just when they appeared to have the game won, a man born in Christchurch ripped it from their hands, in a manner at once extraordinary and unbelievable.

Stokes finished unbeaten on 89, though like Guptil he too could not manage a two from the final ball of England’s innings to win the game in regulation time.
New Zealand had gone into the final over believing that the trophy was in their grasp. England needed 15, Stokes carrying a country’s hopes – not to mention the almost unbearable weight of history – on his shoulders.

The first two balls bowled by Boult were dots, before Stokes mowed the third for six into the crowd at midwicket. Then came an intervention that was either cruel or miraculous, depending on your perspective.

Stokes, diving for his ground as he attempted to complete a second run, diverted Guptill’s throw off his bat – inadvertantly – past wicketkeeper Tom Latham and away to the rope for four more.

Stokes immediately held up his hand in apology, but with no sign that he had changed the course of his run to intercept the throw, it went down as a second consecutive six.
That left England needing three from two, though Boult kept his cool to twice run out the non-striker coming back for a second and send the game into a Super Over.

The previous over, something almost extraordinary had occurred: having caught Stokes on the boundary at wide long-on, Boult stepped on the rope before he could relay the ball back in to Guptill.

Instead of Stokes departing for 63, with England needing 22 off eight and Nos. 9 and 10 at the crease, he was granted another shot at redemption. Instead of Kolkata Part II, this was to become his finest hour, Stokes ultimately crowned man of the match after leading England to victory in a World Cup final at the fourth time of asking.

There is a new name on the World Cup, then, but they didn’t half keep the engravers waiting.

England had built towards this competition for four years, planned for it, yearned for it – and when the moment came, the outburst was rapturous. Staid and stuffy Lord’s had become a cauldron of emotion long before that last passage of play.
New Zealand deserved better than to play the fall guys again.

Their captain, Kane Williamson, orchestrated his men in the field to squeeze England’s chase until it became unbearable.

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