England won Sunday’s World Cup final against New Zealand at Lord’s in London.
England didn’t score more runs than New Zealand after two innings – and also tied the Super Over. Their superior boundary tally – 24 to the opposition’s 16 – ensured the title, though, according to a tournament legality.
The English were fortunate during regulation play, too, after a throw from the deep saw the ball ricochet off all-rounder Ben Stokes’ bat to the boundary – and two runs became six. The margins, indeed, were tight throughout.
Pursuing a 242-run target, the tournament co-hosts were led by Stokes and wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler, who shared a 110-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Stokes gathered 84 not out to Buttler’s 59 – and the alliance was particularly important after England had slipped to 86 for four.
Fast bowler Trent Boult needed to defend 15 runs off the final over, but couldn’t. Stokes levelled the scores – and returned to the crease for the Super Over. He, with Buttler, posted 15. Seamer Jofra Archer was then tasked with defending the 15, but also conceded the amount. A tournament legality, therefore, declared England’s higher boundary count the victor.
Earlier, England limited New Zealand to a final total of 241 for eight. Captain Kane Williamson’s decision to bat first in damp conditions, after rain had delayed the start, was promising on the back of opener Martin Guptill’s cameo.
Guptill attacked Archer in particular, epitomised by a six lofted over the thirdman boundary. The initial aggression ended in the seventh over, though, when Guptill perished lbw to seamer Chris Woakes despite a review.
His 19 was one of seven double-figure scores by as many New Zealand batsman. Each effectively pledged more, but none managed greater than opener Henry Nicholls’ 55. The severe lack of conversion ultimately consigned the Black Caps to a total 46 runs fewer than the 288 average by teams batting first at Lord’s this tournament.
Seamer Liam Plunkett was characteristically impressive through the so-called middle overs – and claimed a 200th international wicket, which includes 41 in Tests and 25 in T20Is. Fellow right-armer Chris Woakes was equally fruitful en route to the innings’ best figures – three for 37 in nine overs.
New Zealand failed to strike a boundary between the first ball of the 20th over and the fourth of the 34th. All-rounders Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme and Mitchell Santner tried valiantly to regularly punctuate the dry spell with fours and sixes, but weren’t particularly successful.
Sunday’s triumph marked England’s maiden World Cup title. They suffered final defeats to the West Indies, Australia and Pakistan in 1979, 1987 and 1992, respectively.
Williamson was named Player of the Tournament on the back of 578 runs – the most by a captain at World Cup – in nine innings at an average of 82.57.
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