Nails were broken, hands trembled and lips swayed with prayer as the two sides played out an absolute gem of a game at the Mecca of cricket, Lord’s. After grinding their way to the finals, the hosts were finally crowned the champions by the finest of margins only after 7 hours of gruesome play.
New Zealand, playing their second consecutive final named no changes to their eleven while England too went ahead with the same approach. Electing to bat first on a greenish track at the Lord’s, the Kiwis got off to a decent start.
Chris Woakes showed his potency as a dangerous powerplay bowler by claiming the wicket of Martin Guptill. Henry Nicholls grinded his way to a fifty while skipper Kane Williamson could only chip in 30 runs.
Ross Taylor was wrongly adjudged out which left the Blackcaps in a spot of bother. At 141-4, the out-of-form Tom Latham stepped in when it mattered and scored a precious 47 to steer New Zealand to 241-8.
Chasing 242 for the trophy, the new-ball attack of Trent Boult and Matt Henry wrecked havoc again just like in the semi-finals to give them a fighting chance to defend a modest total.
Colin de Grandhomme turned up with a spell for the ages as the hosts were reduced to 86-4 at the halfway mark. The ever-reliable pair of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes played with maturity to get the hosts closer to the target with a 110-run stand between them.
While it seemed like England would coast to victory to spark up the celebration, Jos Buttler’s wicket triggered up a collapse leaving Ben Stokes stranded at one end.
With 22 still required, the match seemed all but over when Trent Boult caught the all-rounder at deep midwicket, but in a twist, his foot was on the rope and Stokes survived.
The responsibility lied on the left-armer once again as he was entrusted to defend 15 runs in the final over. Boult began the over on a positive note with two dot balls putting England on the backfoot.
But fortunes change quickly and soon New Zealand found themselves in a spot of bother after conceding two consecutive sixes with the second one being quite unconventional. Stokes had glanced the ball to midwicket and pushed for the second run, during his dive for the crease, the ball hit the bat and skipped its way to the boundary, giving them 4 bonus runs.
England could only get 2 off the last 2 deliveries, forcing the contest into a super-over. Batting first, the pair of Stokes and Jos Buttler proved heavy for the Kiwis once again as they set a mighty target of 16 runs.
All hopes relied on Jofra Archer who was opted to bowl the decisive super over. Jimmy Neesham brought life back into the game with a hoick over square leg that brought down the equation to 7 off 4 deliveries. With 2 required off 1, Guptill was run-out in the process of completing the second run which meant that England were crowned as champions by the virtue of more boundaries scored in the innings.
Stokes completed his redemption after his heartbreak in 2016 while the Blackcaps persistence was put to test as well. The Kiwis await their glory amidst the long wait as the trickling sense of cruelty in the game flows through them.
Kane Williamson was adjudged as the Man of the tournament while Ben Stokes was announced as the Man of the match.
That ends our coverage of the 2019 edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup. Thank you for joining.