England won the World Cup for the first time as they beat New Zealand in a dramatic Super Over after a nerve-shredding final ended in a tie at Lord’s on Sunday.
On the final ball of a tournament that has lasted since the beginning of June it came down to this: New Zealand needed two runs to win, England needed to restrict them to one. If wicketkeeper Jos Buttler had fumbled Jason Roy’s throw as the Kiwi batsmen ran for their lives, the street parties would have been happening in Dunedin and Auckland.
Both sides finished on 15 so England won due to a tie-break rule because they hit more boundaries.
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.
No World Cup final could have been more exciting or demonstrated so clearly the passion, excitement and camaraderie that sport has to offer.
Everything that needed to go England’s way at the business end of the contest seemed to, and New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson acknowledged after the match that his side simply hadn’t enjoyed the rub of the green.
England’s triumph was the culmination of a remarkable rise over the past four years.
Following their dismal first round exit at the 2015 World Cup, England’s then director of cricket Andrew Strauss embarked on a root-and-branch reform of their one-day international set-up.
Adopting an aggressive game-plan under Morgan and Australian coach Trevor Bayliss, England’s rebuilding plan paid off spectacularly.
England’s captain Eoin Morgan said he was proud of his players: “This has been a four-year journey, we have developed a lot.”
While England celebrated, it was another heart-breaking loss for New Zealand, who also finished as runners-up in the previous World Cup in 2015 after losing to Australia in the final.