London: While England rejoiced, a shattered and devastated New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was left to rue the unfortunate overthrow in the last over that eventually turned the epic final in England’s favour, here Sunday, as the hosts eventually lifted their maiden World Cup trophy.
England needed 9 runs from the final three balls when a throw from the deep touched a diving Ben Stokes’ bat and raced to the boundary ropes, giving England six runs when they should have got only two. It impacted the equation to the extent that the heart-stopping contest stretched to the Super Over. The Super Over too was tied in a dramatic fashion but the hosts had the last laugh as they won ona superior boundary count.
Speaking after the win, England’s first World Cup winning captain Morgan appreciated the batting efforts of his colleagues Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes as the duo stitched 110 runs for the fifth wicket to keep their side in the hunt after England were reduced to 86 for 4.
“On a tough wicket where everyone found it tough to score, Buttler and Stokes put together a partnership, and I thought that would take us deep, and it did. This has been a four-year- journey and we find it hard to play on wickets like that. To get over the line means the world to us,” he said.
“Full credit to the two boys (Buttler and Stokes) who went out for the Super Over, given that they were there most recently. (Jofra) Archer just improves every time he goes out there. Really incredible – everyone in the change room, (David) Willey, (Sam) Billings, whoever missed out on the squad – I’d like to mention them too.”
Man-of-the-match Ben Stokes, who had tears in his eyes after England completed the win, was at a loss for words. “All the hard work that’s gone on in these four years, and to execute with such a good game is unthinkable. Thanks to everyone for all the support. We just kept talking during the partnership with Jos (Buttler), and the run-rate wasn’t getting away. It’s fantastic, the lads, the family, and the support, it’s just been incredible,” he said.
England captain, however, lauded New Zealand for the kind of tournament they had. The home team got the rub of the green, captain Eoin Morgan said lauding the gallant losers of what would go down as a final to remember in the history of international cricket.
“They’ve been actually through a better tournament than we have. The fact a trophy is sitting here is, you know — like I mentioned, we got the rub of the green,” Morgan said in the post-match press conference. “New Zealand, throughout the group stages, was absolutely outstanding, very consistent and in the semifinal were very ruthless in playing against India, India is an extremely strong team,” he added.
Morgan had the glittering trophy with him during the interaction. So was it an Irishman’s luck that got them over the line? “We had Allah with us as well. I spoke to Adil (Rashid), he said Allah was definitely with us. I said we had the rub of the green (smiling),” the humour just can’t be missed.
For Morgan, it’s all about inclusivity. “It actually epitomises our team. Diverse backgrounds and cultures and guys grew up in different countries and to actually find humour in the situation we were in at times was pretty cool,” he said.
On a day when he has given England cricket one of its greatest moments, Morgan was asked about his future about four years from now and practicality belied any emotion that he might have been going through. “We will let the dust settle, we’ll celebrate as hard as we can. I think it’s deserved. And then we will look at things. Four years is a long time away. I think the big question I will have to answer is will I be in the team in four years, will I be good enough? These guys are improving very quickly. Will I be able to keep up with them,” it seemed he was thinking aloud.
He paid an emotional tribute to his teammates. “They are the best, and they do it in a fashion that you’d have no qualms in turning around to your kid and saying, ‘Please idolise these guys, they are very admirable.” They are’ he signed off.
A shattered and devastated New Zealand captain Kane Williamson rued the unfortunate overthrow in the last over that eventually turned the epic final in England’s favour, saying he hoped the incident would never happen in such moments again.
With England needing nine from three balls when Ben Stokes hit Trent Boult to the deep. The return throw from Martin Guptill hit Stokes’ bat as he dived to make his ground for the second run, with the ball rebounding to the rope for an additional four runs.
“It was a shame that the ball hit Stokes’ bat, but I just hope it doesn’t happen in moments like that. I don’t wish to nitpick, just hope it never happens in such moments ever again,” Williamson said.
“The New Zealand side showed a great amount of heart to get us to this point, but it just wasn’t meant to be. The guys are shattered at the moment – it is devastating. It’s pretty tough to swallow at this stage. But a fantastic effort from our guys,” said the skipper.
Williamson, who was adjudged the player of the tournament for scoring 578 runs and for his brilliant captaincy, said they were a few runs short. “We thought runs on the board – we would have liked 10-20 more. But in a World Cup final this was a competitive total. The bowlers really put the batsmen under pressure. It had to go down to the last ball, and then the last ball of the next little match, but a great match all around,” he said.
“There were so many moments that could’ve gone either way, but congratulations to England – they’ve had an incredible campaign and they deserve it.”