England won the men’s World Cup for the first time as they beat New Zealand following a dramatic sudden-death super over in one of the most thrilling matches in cricket history.
Both sides scored 241 from their 50 overs, meaning they had to bat again for six balls each.
England scored 15 in their super over. With two runs needed from their final ball to win, New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill scored one before being run out.
That meant the super over scores were tied, and England won the title after a wait of 44 years on virtue of having scored more boundaries in the match.
The barely believable final at Lord’s was tied twice. That it even got to that stage was astonishing in itself, and the first tied World Cup final was played in front of an electric and ecstatic home of cricket.
England required 15 from the last over of the regular match. Ben Stokes hit a six and benefited when a throw from the deep hit him and went for four overthrows.
He could not get the two needed from the last ball – Mark Wood was run out coming back for the second – but ended 84 not out and joined Jos Buttler at the crease for the super over.
They plundered 15, roared on by an febrile crowd that belted out Sweet Caroline in the change of innings.
In the New Zealand reply, Jimmy Neesham hit Jofra Archer’s third ball for six, then scrambled to leave Guptill with two to get.
As Jason Roy’s throw came in from deep mid-wicket, a diving Guptill was short as Buttler removed the bails, sending England and the whole of Lord’s into delirious celebrations.
Chasing 242, England were all but out of the game at 86-4, squeezed by New Zealand’s skilful bowling, sharp fielding and smart tactics.
Gradually, they were dragged back into contention by Stokes and Buttler through patience, calmness and a little fortune.
Buttler was the more fluent, scooping and driving, but when he was caught at deep point for 59, England still needed 46 from 31 balls.
It was at this point that Stokes, the man who was hit for four sixes in the final over in England’s 2016 World T20 final defeat and was cleared of affray 11 months ago, took control.
After Liam Plunkett was held at long-off in Neesham’s 49th over, Trent Boult carried the ball over the boundary for a Stokes six before Archer was bowled.
That left 15 needed from Boult’s final set. Two dots were followed by a heave over deep mid-wicket, then came the outrageous moment of fortune.
Diving for his ground to complete a second run, Stokes was inadvertently struck by the throw and deflected the ball for four overthrows to make six in total.
With three runs needed from two balls, Adil Rashid was run out coming back for a second. When Wood suffered the same fate from the final ball, the match was tied.
The drama of the finale was at odds with almost of all the match, which was an attritional affair on a tricky surface.
New Zealand stuck doggedly to a plan that centred on batting patience. Henry Nicholls’ 55, and 47 from Tom Latham, held things together in the face of some probing England bowling.
The value of the Black Caps’ pragmatism in reaching 241-8 was shown when England came to bat.
Matt Henry had Roy caught behind, the miserly Colin de Grandhomme ensured Joe Root suffered a similar fate, Lockie Ferguson got Jonny Bairstow to play on, then took a wonderful catch to hold Eoin Morgan at deep point.
England were floored, then came Stokes, the tie, the super over, and an unforgettable conclusion.
Umpires made ‘error of judgement’ with overthrows – Taufel
The umpires made an “error of judgement” in awarding six runs, instead of five, to England for the overthrow that hit Ben Stokes’ bat and ran to the boundary, says Simon Taufel, confirming the story that ESPNcricinfo broke right after the World Cup 2019 final. Currently part of the MCC’s laws sub-committee that makes the rules governing cricket, Taufel told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald that England should have been awarded five runs, not six.
“It’s a clear mistake.. it’s an error of judgment,” Taufel said. “They (England) should have been awarded five runs, not six.
“The judgment error was the timing of when the fielder threw the ball. The act of the overthrow starts when the fielder releases the ball. That’s the act. It becomes an overthrow from the instant of the throw.”
Law 19.8, pertaining to “Overthrow or wilful act of fielder”, says: “If the boundary results from an overthrow or from the wilful act of a fielder, the runs scored shall be any runs for penalties awarded to either side, and the allowance for the boundary, and the runs completed by the batsmen, together with the run in progress if they had already crossed at the instant of the throw or act.”
A review of the footage of the incident – which took place off the fourth ball of the last over – shows clearly that, at the moment the ball was released by the New Zealand fielder, Martin Guptill, Stokes and his partner, Adil Rashid, had not yet crossed for their second run.
Taufel also said that Stokes and Rashid should have switched ends once the run was found to be incomplete – which meant Rashid would have played the fifth ball with three runs required to win. “They did not cross on their second run, at the instant of the throw. So given that scenario, five runs should have been the correct allocation of runs, and Ben Stokes should have been at the non-striker’s end for the next delivery.”
Taufel defended the officials though, saying the moment involved many things happening at the same time. “In the heat of what was going on, they thought there was a good chance the batsmen had crossed at the instant of the throw,” Taufel said.
“Obviously TV replays showed otherwise. The difficulty you (umpires) have here is you’ve got to watch batsmen completing runs, then change focus and watch for the ball being picked up, and watch for the release (of the throw),” he said.
“You also have to watch where the batsmen are at that exact moment.”
The former umpire acknowledged the call “influenced the game”, but said it should not be viewed as costing New Zealand the match – and the tournament.
“It’s unfair on England, New Zealand and the umpires involved to say it decided the outcome,” Taufel said.