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The Greatest game in Cricket History. Reflecting ENG Vs NZ ICC Cricket World Cup FINAL 2019!

Eng Vs NZ
Photo Credit: Sportstar

A year has gone by since England becoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup champions after a first-ever super-over in the final and defeated New Zealand to lift their maiden World Cup title on the basis of boundary count rule at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

That day of horrific thrilling entertainment is etched today also in the minds of all cricket fans.

Cricket is understood as a sport where you cannot take your eyes off at any moment of the game, you don’t know what happens the next moment. The game which is very often recognized as the ‘game of uncertainty’ leaves you in a moment of wonders.

For one side it’s a joy for another it’s dismay. The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Final 2019, witnessed the greatest ever game to be ever played in the history of the Cricket World Cup or you can even say in ODI cricket.

The game of sports can be cruel to you, and the same has been witnessed by the world on July 14, 2019, when New Zealand was defeated by England on account of the boundary count rule.

England came to the World Cup as the firm favorites to win the World Cup thanks to the leadership of Eoin Morgan who made this English team established as the strongest contenders of all the other teams. But things were not quite the same exactly 4 years ago for Morgan and company when England was knocked out of the 2015 World Cup by Bangladesh, a team which was making headlines day by day at that time, in a must-win game to qualify for the quarterfinals. Whole English cricket administration was stunned by the performance of the England cricket team.

It was then that Eoin Morgan sought inspiration from Former Kiwi Skipper Brendon McCullum and his style of leadership. And how McCullum transformed the New Zealand side in two years prior to the 2015 World Cup. Morgan realized that it would need a completely different approach and attitude altogether to win a Cricket World Cup and seeking McCullum style of aggressive and attacking captainship; he went on the path of the Kiwi skipper. And after that Morgan changed the way England played cricket. He filled confidence in each player to play their own style of game. To attack from the first over and utilize the powerplay to dominating in the middle overs.

England was scoring heavily over 300-350 in every second game. Scoring 300 was like an ordinary thing for them then. England has amassed 24 300-plus scores since April 2015 at home. England alone has accounted for four of the five 400-plus totals since the 2015 World Cup and three have come in home grounds

So by the time, 2019. England has prepared itself for the world cup. One can see in the body language of each player. The eyes having that hunger to muscle every other opponent that comes their way. It can be proven from the fact that they hit world record 481/6 against Australia at Trent Bridge in 2018.

Also Read : Mohammad Hafeez: India lacked the intent while playing against England in World Cup 

From the top order starting from Alex Hales, Johnny Bairstow, Jason Roy to the middle order of Root, Stokes, Morgan, and Buttler to the lower order filled with allrounders like Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid. England has that rock-solid line up that made them believe they can lift the trophy this time.

But things were not that easy as it seemed and after winning the first few games in the league stage. England lost to Australia and Sri Lanka midway. Things came to a point when it seemed like they would be knocked out from the tournament. But they did win their all matches against the likes of other favorites India and the Black caps in the league stage and managed to qualify for the semi-finals where they defeated the Aussies brutally.

New Zealand on the other side started off really well in their campaign. But nobody expected them to be playing the finals at the lord’s but you know this kiwi side, recognized as the comeback team which always surprises you. New Zealanders who have never crossed the finishing line as the winners. Always managed to come to the knockout stage be it the 8-time semifinalist and 2-time finalist in the 12 edition of the World Cup.

On the day of the final, NZ won the toss and elected to bat first and gave a 241 runs target for the English team to chase which eventually look like a 300 under the pressure of finals and also the fact that how New Zealand bowlers dismantled India’s top order in their semifinal clash.

Also Read: Kaif, Yuvraj, Nasser Hussain remembers the Historic day at Lord’s, Natwest series final 2002, IND vs ENG!

Chasing 241 seemed like walking on the cake but the nerve of finals even took the better of the strong English batting line up as they were reduced to 86-4 inside 24 overs. It was then Ben stoked and Jos Buttler stitched a 110 run partnership to bail England out of trouble. Stokes understood that it was a golden opportunity for him to redeem himself of the loss of the 2016 T20 World Cup.

Things were gearing up for a thriller. On one side the world had one eye on this epic final and on the other side, they had their other eye on the Wimbledon finals where Djokovic was struggling to make a comeback against the evergreen Federer.

Nobody expected England to collapse but they too collapsed. The match was looking a little favor in New Zealand’s hand but then the characters displayed by Stokes and Buttler balanced the game.

With all the drama folding up, the match was ready for its climax suspense thriller nothing sort of any blockbuster movie with a firm favorite for the Oscar Award.

England though, lost their way once again after Buttler got out for 59 in the 45th over with still 45 runs to get.

Another turn came when New Zealand missed the chance to dismiss Stokes in the penultimate over had Trent Boult not stepped on the boundary while completing a regulation catch when England needed 22 from nine deliveries. This was just the first indication that destiny wasn’t in favor of the black caps as it happened in the final over also; when England needed 9 runs from 3 balls after the first few balls went for dot and stokes smashed the third ball for six.

Also Read: New Zealand offers BCCI to host IPL

Stokes sent the fourth ball which was a full toss to the midwicket region and set off for a couple. However, as he was about to complete the second run, Stokes dived and the ball deflected from his bat and rolled past the long-on boundary. The umpire awarded six runs to England. The shock on New Zealand and its fans was evident. Stokes just held up his arms in apology.

The nerve of the final even took the better of umpires who didn’t give a second thought of reviewing their decision in an important World Cup final but by instantly awarding 6 runs to the English side. Renowned  Umpire Simon Taufel later said officials standing in the World Cup final made an “error of judgment” in awarding six runs, instead of five, to England for an overthrow, an observation that the ICC refused to react.

The commentators’ trio of Ian smith, Nasser Hussain, and Ian Bishop also couldn’t hold their emotions and was seen standing and commentating in the nerve-wracking moments of the match.The voice and passion of Ian Smith could be seen in his commentary.

Three runs were needed off the final two, with England managing two runs as Adil Rashid and Mark Wood were run out on both the deliveries. Both the teams finished on level terms and the contest headed for a Super Over.

Adding up to the excitement was the epic super over which gave this game the perfect thriller it wanted. Boult bowled the super over as Stokes and Jos Buttler, with the help of two fours, managed to score 15 runs. England captain threw the ball to Jofra Archer who made his debut a month ago against Pakistan. The belief of Morgan on Archer was evident as archer beside starc was seen bowling lethal bouncers. The first two deliveries resulted in nine runs, with James Neesham smashing a six, he was looking to be the hero but with two needed from the final delivery, Martin Guptill got to face his first ball who didn’t have a very good campaign leading to the finals.

All eyes of the English camp was on Archer and New Zealand camp on Guptill. Guptill flicked the final delivery towards square leg, completed his first run but in his attempt for the second run was run out by Jason Roy. The match got tied, the super over also got tied. There was nothing that separated these two teams after 102 overs but only boundaries 26-17 in favor of the three lions. England became the ODI World champions for the first time in their history on account of the boundary count rule.

Millions of hearts were broken, two – New Zealand losing the World Cup on boundary count rule and the other, Federer losing the Wimbledon final after giving away two championship points on his own serve to Djokovic.

The dismay could be seen and can be understood as in the words of Ian Smith – ”
This is the moment: it’s Archer to Guptill. Two to win. Guptill’s going to push for two. They’ve got to go. It’s … the throw’s got to go to the keeper’s end! HE’S GOT IT! England has won the World Cup by the barest of margins. By the barest of all margins. Absolute ecstasy for England, agony, agony for New Zealand….”
The words are now part of cricket history.

All the luck destiny went against New Zealand that day but England was surely the deserving side to lift the crown leading to the world cup. All the blood and toil were finally paid off.

There was a huge roar all around the world, people upset, showing their anger against the boundary count rule of the ICC. Suggesting the world cup should be shared. But that rule was already existing so it would have been quite unfair for England if that rule was ignored and the trophy was shared. The rule meant for both; had New Zealand was ahead in terms of the boundary. The rule must have been reviewed before the tournament. So taking credit from England is not right. It’s not in the spirit of the game. Sometimes the game of cricket can be cruel. But we need to accept the reality as it is.

But nevertheless, the boundary count rule was abolished by ICC in October later that year. But what cricket fraternity gained that day was more than just a thrilling entertainment of cricket.

England, the nation where the sport of cricket originated, won the 50-over ICC World Cup for the first time in the greatest final ever played in history. But New Zealand wasn’t defeated that day, they also won something. They were meant for winning millions and millions of hearts that day.

This match will go down as the greatest in cricket history and a day where the game of cricket won by all means. This situation moment is what defines sports. This moment only makes sports a gentleman sports. This could be evident when you hear from Kane Williamson himself when he said-
” Laugh or cry, it’s your choice, isn’t it? It’s not anger. There’s a lot of disappointment, I suppose. Yeah, the guys are really feeling it and I think it’s probably more down to some of the uncontrollable (sic),” said Williamson.

Williamson was widely praised for the grace with which he and his side accepted the defeat. There was not a single soul who didn’t feel for the modest Captain and his bunch of fighters. Even after losing the final, he chose to attend the Press Conference and answered all the questions gracefully and didn’t complain even with a choked throat.

This game needs a gentleman like Williamson. Be it a win or loss for any side. Its the win of cricket always.

The game needs moments and players like these which taught us various lessons of life. Be it any situation, we should fight; someday you will lose, someday you will win but always keep your head held high. This is the gentlemen game.

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