London: England is the new king of cricket. Through the greatest ever final in the history of the game that ended in a tie with both teams scoring 241 runs in their 50 overs, it was a contest, which will be crowned as one of the greatest One Day International contests of all time.
Hats off to Ben Stokes, who pulled England up from a disastrous 86 for 4 in 23.1 overs through a 110 runs partnership with Jos Buttler (59). After Buttler fell, Stokes carried England on his shoulder through an unbeaten 84 off 98 balls to tie the match.
In the Super over too, Stokes, along with Buttler, posted 15 runs in six balls. New Zealand opener James Neesham hit the second ball from Jofra Archer for a six and with Martin Guptill even tied the score in the Super Over, but England won the match due to more boundaries they hit in the match which stands at 22-14.
This World Cup, where the last ball of the tournament decided the winner, will be talked about for years to come. In the Super Over, Buttler ran out Guptill inches before the crease and raced for a lap of honour.
Stokes, the man who was instrumental in realising the dream for the hosts, was in tears and so was Jofra Archer, who bowled the Super Over.
There is no doubt that New Zealand fought valiantly.
They kept their heads high right till the end of the tournament. They had bounced back from three successive defeats, bravely batted first and even defended a modest total, but they could not stop one man — Stokes. It was a battle of Stokes versus New Zealand for the major part of the game.
England’s consistent opening partnership lasted only 5.4 overs producing 28 runs. Matt Henry got the in-form Jason Roy to edge his outswinger and ended his 20-ball stay for 17 runs.
Joe Root, who joined Jonny Bairstow, added another 31 runs before Colin de Grandhomme forced Joe Root (7) to lose his patience and throw his wicket away by nicking his outswinger wide outside off stump. Lockie Ferguson forced Bairstow to chop the ball on to the wicket for 36.
Skipper Eoin Morgan fell to the first ball of the 24th over to a stupendous catch by Ferguson inches off the ground off Neesham when he had scored just nine runs.
It was the Stokes and Buttler partnership that helped England claw back into the game. When 46 runs were needed, substitute Tim Southee took a marvellous catch to end Buttler’s innings.
Rain delayed start of the game, but the groundsmen ensured that the ground was ready with a delay of 15 minutes only. New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat on a pitch that was nipping around a bit. The opening partnership lasted 6.2 overs only and put on a mere 29 runs. Guptill was a victim of a delivery from Chris Woakes that came back into him and hit his pads to trap him leg before for 19.
He wasted a review too since he was batting so smoothly, scoring 19 off the 29 runs in the partnership.
New Zealand went past the 50-run mark in 13.4 overs and the 100-run mark in 21.2 overs with opener Henry Nicholls and his skipper Williamson stroking well.
The pair put on 74 runs in the next 16.2 overs when Liam Plunkett, who has rewarded his skipper with valuable wickets, had Williamson caught behind for 30.
Plunkett’s victims in this tournament includes some of the dangerous batsmen like Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and Quinton De Kock. Williamson’s wicket was the result of a successful review from Morgan after umpire Kumar Dharmasena had given not out.
Nicholls, being a left-hander, made it difficult for the bowlers to settle on a length, as both Williamson and Ross Taylor, who followed were right-handers.
Taylor, playing his fourth World Cup, began well while Nicholls reached his 50 off 71 balls. New Zealand, at the halfway mark, were 109 for 2.
Plunkett struck again in the 27th over by using the wicket intelligently and made the ball come and have Nicholls’ bails flying. It was Plunkett’s second spell, and by taking two wickets for six runs, he placed England on top. In the 34th over, Woods trapped Taylor leg before for 15.
When Plunkett dismissed Neesham for 19 five overs later, New Zealand’s hopes of posting a total above 250 vanished.
The Black Caps reached the 200-run mark in 43.3 overs mainly due to the 46-run partnership in 7.5 overs between Colin de Grandhomme (16) and Latham, but they fell short of the 250-run mark.
It was a comic ending to the innings with Mitchell Santner ducking to the last ball of the innings from Archer as if there were many more balls to play and refusing to hook it!
Martin Guptill lbw b Woakes 19
Henry Nicholls b Plunkett 55
Kane Williamson c Buttler b Plunkett 30
Ross Taylor lbw b Wood 15
Tom Latham c sub (Vince) b Woakes 47
Jimmy Neesham c Root b Plunkett 19
Colin de Grandhomme c sub (Vince) b Woakes 16
Mitchell Santner not out 5
Matt Henry b Archer 4
Trent Boult not out 1
Extras: (12lb, 1nb, 17w) 30
TOTAL (for 8 wickets) 241 (Overs: 50)
Did not bat: Lockie Ferguson
Fall of wickets: 1-29, 2-103, 3-118, 4-141, 5-173, 6-219, 7-232, 8-240
Bowling: Chris Woakes 9-0-37-3, Jofra Archer 10-0-42-1, Liam Plunkett 10-0-42-3, Mark Wood 10-1-49-1, Adil Rashid 8-0-39-0, Ben Stokes 3-0-20-0.
Jason Roy c Latham b Henry 17
Jonny Bairstow b Ferguson 36
Joe Root c Latham b de Grandhomme 7
Eoin Morgan c Ferguson b Neesham 9
Ben Stokes not out 84
Jos Buttler c sub (Southee) b Ferguson 59
Chris Woakes c Latham b Ferguson 2
Liam Plunkett c Boult b Neesham 10
Jofra Archer b Neesham 0
Adil Rashid run out 0
Mark Wood run out 0
Extras: (3lb, 12w, 2b) 17
TOTAL: (all out) 241 (Overs: 50)
Did not bat: Fall of wickets: 1-28, 2-59, 3-71, 4-86, 5-196, 6-203, 7-220, 8-227, 9-240, 10-240
Bowling: Trent Boult 10-0-67-0, Matt Henry 10-2-40-1, Colin de Grandhomme 10-2-25-1, Lockie Ferguson 10-0-50-3, Jimmy Neesham 7-0-43-3, Mitchell Santner 3-0-11-0.
Ben Stokes not out 8
Jos Buttler not out 7
TOTAL (without loss) 15
Bowling: Trent Boult 1-0-15-0
Jimmy Neesham not out 13
Martin Guptill run out 1
Extras (1w) 1
TOTAL: (for 1 wicket) 15
Bowling: Jofra Archer 1-0-15-0