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England down NZ in nailbiting World Cup final

Cricket

England’s hard-hitting one-day revolution has gifted them their maiden World Cup crown over New Zealand after the final was decided by a boundary countback.

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In what will go down as the greatest one-day game ever played, it was tied not once but twice in both the regular 50-over match and super over.

Chasing 16 to win in the extra over after Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes clubbed 15 for England, Jimmy Neesham and Martin Guptill took 14 from Jofra Archer’s first five balls to set up two required from the last.

But Guptill could only squeeze the ball to Jason Roy on the legside boundary, who ran him out by around a metre as he returned for a second to spark wild celebrations at Lord’s.

It meant England won the game after scoring 26 boundaries to New Zealand’s 17 – the first men’s international in any format to be decided in such a fashion.

“I still can’t quite believe it,” England captain Eoin Morgan said.

“I can’t believe we have got over the line. It has been an extraordinary day … like the most incredible game of cricket with nothing between the sides.

“Sport sometimes is very, very fine margins. I think it was the finest of margins today and it could have gone either way, but I’m thankful it went ours.”

However, even the end of the regular match was filled with drama as Stokes hit 84 not out and both teams finished on 241.

With 15 required off four balls, Stokes launched Trent Boult over the mid-wicket boundary for six.

From the following delivery he again hit Boult into the deep, and as New Zealand attempted to run him out on the second run, the ball hit Stokes’ bat and deflected to the boundary.

Stokes immediately apologised, but the umpires were left with no choice but to award four overthrows and six runs in total.

Adil Rashid and Mark Wood were then both run out at the bowlers’ end on the final two balls of the innings, as Stokes kept the strike but fell one run short of victory.

“I apologised to Kane (Williamson),” Stokes said.

“I’m pretty lost for words.

“To do it with such a game, I don’t think there will be another like this in the history of cricket.”

New Zealand had appeared in control of the game with England at 4-86 in the 24th over.

After Henry Nicholls top scored with 55 with the bat, Lockie Ferguson took 3-50, Jimmy Neesham 3-43 and Colin de Grandhomme just 1-25 from his 10 overs.

Nerves had appeared to be setting in for the hosts, with Joe Root getting out in uncharacteristic fashion as he was caught behind flaying wildly on seven from 30 balls.

But from there England recovered with 110-run stand between Buttler and Stokes for the fifth wicket.

Together they got the margin down to 46 off 32 balls before Buttler sliced Ferguson to Tim Southee at deep extra cover on 59 off 60 balls.

Wickets fell at the other end but the drama surrounded Stokes.

He should have been out with the equation at 22 from nine when he found Trent Boult at the long on boundary, only for the New Zealand quick to put a foot on the rope.

But in the end it was England’s power that got them home, symbolic given they spent four years building their game around high scores and boundary hitting.

“We were laughing about that in the dressing room. Four years came down to one ball, two needed off one,” Buttler said.

“We didn’t get that. And then four years came down to basically can we get a run out?

“It justifies everything we’ve done for four years.”

-AAP

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