A thrilling Super Over went England’s way with the slimmest of margins as the home side lifted the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 trophy in front of an ecstatic home crowd at Lord’s on Sunday.
Two dramatic run-outs in the final over of England’s innings took the game into a Super Over with the scores tied on 241. England held their nerve, leveling the scores on the final ball of the deciding over, and then edged ahead on the boundary count to be crowned men’s world champions for the first time.
New Zealand’s strength all tournament has been their bowling, and another fantastic reading of the pitch and the conditions kept them in the contest in a low-scoring but keenly contested final at Lord’s.
Colin de Grandhomme bowled his ten overs in a row for an incredible 1/25, while Matt Henry’s opening spell was an equally incisive 22/1 in seven overs.
But chasing 242, Stokes and Jos Buttler added 110 to rescue England from 86/4 before setting New Zealand a 16-run target in the Super Over.
Unlike four years ago when Brendon McCullum came out all guns blazing, New Zealand’s batsmen were more patient. With rain delaying the start by 15 minutes, Williamson made what Ian Bishop described as a “brave decision” to bat first on a green-tinged Lord’s surface and it made for a lively start.
The home bowlers didn’t repeat the perfect opening from the Australia game, tending to bowl slightly short, but kept the openers on their toes.
Martin Guptill, determined to shake off his poor run of form, struck a couple of fours and a six – while also slashing at a few and surviving a shout for lbw in Jofra Archer’s first over. He didn’t get so lucky in Woakes’ third over, however, trapped in front by one moving in and continuing his team’s woes at the top.
Henry Nicholls, who had a decision overturned off Woakes before he had a run against his name, settled in and went on to add 74 for the second wicket with Williamson. It was New Zealand’s best for that wicket all tournament, with the duo helping to add 58 runs in overs 10 to 20.
Plunkett went for 19 in his first three-over spell, but the man who’s been England’s most effective weapon in the middle overs got them the breakthrough.
A change of ends worked as he got Williamson to feather to the wicket-keeper and Nicholls, soon after bringing up his half-century, to drag onto the stumps. In all, Plunkett conceded just seven runs in that four-over spell.
England then chipped away regularly. Tom Latham held up one end to near his half-century, but fell short of the milestone becoming Woakes’ third wicket in the penultimate over.
The total, while not intimidating, was more than what New Zealand had defended against India in the semi-final. Trent Boult had an excellent shout in the very first ball and the bowlers immediately hit their lengths.
Henry beat the edge ever so often and Boult got it to hoop and move. With them only replaced by Lockie Ferguson’s pace and de Grandhomme’s discipline, it wasn’t easy going even with the sun coming out.
Jason Roy was keen to stamp his authority on proceedings early on, but the England opener, so dominant all tournament, edged behind the stumps and the first-wicket stand was cut short at 28.
A nervy Joe Root was tested by Henry and ended up swiping behind while Eoin Morgan fell to a blinder of a catch by a diving Ferguson – Jimmy Neesham striking first ball.
England were in some trouble at 86/4 in 24 overs, before the 110-run stand between Stokes and Buttler steadied them. The duo ran hard and stayed aggressive without taking many risks.
In the end, Boult pulled things back and with two runs outs, including one of Mark Wood, the No.11, the scores were tied on 241.
Eventually, with scores tied in the Super Over and England scoring six more boundaries than New Zealand, the tournament’s hosts finished on the winning side, winning the final on boundary count.