Eoin Morgan's England cricket team clinched the World Cup in dramatic circumstances after the super over was tied against New Zealand and the hosts were declared winners due to a higher boundary count.
The 4192nd ODI witnessed was one of the greatest clashes in the history of the One Day International Game. In 11 World Cup editions, the closest victory margin was seven runs by Australia against England in 1987 at Kolkata. Now, England, with the pain of three World Cup final losses and New Zealand, the 2015 final losers, clashed against each other. It was already 6:45 AM in New Zealand. 100 overs later, a New Zealand-born cricketer playing for England almost hurt the Kiwis. Ben Stokes blasted 83 but the match ended in a tie and for the first time in World Cup history, the title would be decided on the super over. Trent Boult leaked 15 runs and New Zealand needed 16 runs. James Neesham blasted a six off Jofra Archer, who came into the England side as a man of destiny having just qualified to play for the national side. Two runs were needed off one ball. Martin Guptill, who had endured a nightmare World Cup, had a chance for glory. However, when he turned for a second, Guptill was run-out. The super over was tied. England had won the World Cup due to a bigger boundary count. Read that again: England won the World Cup because the boundary count was higher. 22 by England as compared to 16 by New Zealand.
It was Stokes and his 100-run partnership with Jos Buttler that changed the course of the game after Matt Henry once again gave a demonstration of excellent fast bowling exhibition when he priced out the dangerous Jason Roy. Colin de Grandhomme got rid of Joe Root while James Neesham got rid of Eoin Morgan. With England tottering, it needed a special partnership between Buttler and Stokes to keep England in the hunt. With both batsmen scoring 50s, their 20th in ODIs, New Zealand were starting to feel pressure.
Stokes released the pressure when he blasted a six in the 49th over off Neesham. Boult took the catch at wide long on but in the process of trying to balance himself, he stepped on the ropes while releasing the ball. The 49th over showed Ben Stokes was a child of destiny. He clobbered a six and the turning point of the match took place in the fourth ball. Stokes smashed a couple to deep midwicket and a throw was fired at the bowler's end. Stokes dived and the ball hit the bat and went past Tom Latham to go to the fine leg fence. Those six runs (two pluys four overthrows) put the ball back in England's court but New Zealand held on and effected two run-outs to take the match to the super over.
The grinding match was just how the game panned out. New Zealand chose to bat and a fifty from Henry Nicholls and an aggressive knock from Tom Latham helped New Zealand reach 241/8. In the end, Stokes, born in New Zealand, proved to be the ultimate destiny-maker for England as they won the title for the first time. After 44 years of pain, they have finally done it. However, it took every inch of drama to get there. At the end of the day, New Zealand and England were both winners and they made cricket a greater game.
For all the rain delays and the talk of 400-plus totals, the final at Lord's is a paradigm shift in how the game of cricket is truly played.