Where were we?
Well, I’m going to take a step back to build more of a picture of how it was in the Upper Compton Stand on Sunday. I was sat next to Jonny, a Doctor, from Birmingham, now living in Wimbledon; he was with 3 or 4 friends and their tickets had been sorted for them by a friend who works for the ECB. On the other side was Laura, there with her Dad, they’re Kent fans. Laura had been involved in an Irish dancing competition on Saturday and both were over the moon to be at Lord’s.
In the row in front were 6 men from India, they’d paid £2000 for their tickets, bearing in mind mine had cost £95, that was some profiteering from the Australia fans they’d bought the tickets from. They’d also paid £1000 to watch the semi-final at Edgbaston, so, £3000 to watch 2 games, neither of which involved their own team! Next to them sat Josh, he is a New Zealand fan living in Brooklyn New York, a friend had offered him a ticket on Saturday, he had been due to fly to England to visit his Mum on Monday, but had changed his flight at great cost to arrive at 6:30am that morning. Some dedication to the Blackcaps cause!
Many of the India fans, apparently 41% of the Final tickets had been sold to fans of Virat and his team, seemed to be supporting New Zealand, their cheers for anything good they did suggested as much.
All at Lord’s were treated to something special, there’d been talk of a first 500 being scored during this World Cup but the pitches prepared were far more conducive to a good game between bat and ball rather than a one sided affair. It was England who reached the highest score of 397 for 6, that being against Afghanistan at Old Trafford. That was the match where Eoin Morgan had his incredible innings of 148 from 71 Balls – a strike rate of 208.45. My photos went a bit wrong on my phone, I put iCloud on and it added Baseball as a category, putting photos of Morgan’s innings in!
Back to the matter in hand – England required 23 from 11 Balls – I think I skipped a couple of runs in part 1, but let’s start with 23 required. Liam Plunkett and Ben Stokes were at the crease, one of my memorable cricket moments involved a Six from the final ball of the match for Plunkett to draw a game against Sri Lanka at Trent Bridge a few years ago. His innings of 10 from 10 balls wasn’t to be one for the memory bank, he was caught by Trent Boult from the bowling of Jimmy Neesham, that put England on 220 for 7 with 9 balls remaining. 22 to win, 21 to tie the match.
I’ll be very honest, I just couldn’t see either scenario happening with 9 balls to come. But, this is cricket and anything is possible! I saw Stuart Broad demolish Australia at Trent Bridge (that ground again), taking 8 for 15 in an innings that saw Australia our for 60.
If England were to do this it was going to have to be down to Ben Stokes, he’d made 381 runs before this match. Joffra Archer came in at 9, Stokes scored 7 runs before Archer was bowled by Neesham, his second wicket of the over. Archer took a Duck back to the pavilion, England were 227 for 7, they needed 15 from the final over to win. Jonny, who plays cricket and was clearly knowledgeable was counting down with me, he reckoned 15 was doable. I can’t really find the words to describe to tension in the crowd. Trent Boult bowled that final over, he’d taken 17 wickets in the games leading to the final, in this final over he gave away 14 runs! England lost both Adil Rashid and Chris Wood for Ducks, both run out, but! England had 241 – and the game was tied!!! Ben Stokes had made 84 from 98 Balls,
I’d dispensed with my radio way before this point, the crowd noise made listening impossible and full concentration was needed anyway! The joys of having a camera with a big zoom meant I was able to get a photo of what was to come next, and read it to! But, after that point it was also impossible to take photos. There will be a post with my top photos for the tournament later however.
There would be 10 minutes before things started again, 1 bowler, 1 over, 3 batsmen, , most runs would win the World Cup 2019. You literally couldn’t have written what happened next. Boult was to bowl, Stokes would carry on and Buttler would bat too. The man with his eye in and one of England’s most dynamic batsmen.
This part of the game was watched around the ground with people standing, not brilliant when you’re vertically challenged like me! But, I saw every moment of the over, 15 runs on the board, with 8 for Stokes and 7 for Buttler, with a Four each!!! Many !!! needed at this point and onwards!
Who would fulfil the bowling and batting roles in the next Super Over? That was answered 10 minutes later, Joffra Archer took the ball, Josh thought Williamson would bat, Jonny and I thought not. We were right, but I’m not sure either of us would’ve picked Jimmy Neesham to accompany Martin Guptill.
Neesham faced the first ball, which was called wide! 15 more runs needed to win. Neesham hit a huge Six from the next ball!!!!! Advantage Blackcaps! He hit another 7 runs from 4 balls, a single bringing Guptill into the firing line. They needed 2 runs from the final ball to win, but, the drama for the afternoon wasn’t over, Guptill hot the ball to Jason Roy, who’d fumbled a ball earlier in the over, he threw the ball into Buttler, who literally demolished the stumps! Guptill was way outside of the crease and although we had to wait for the official verdict the crowd erupted as England became winners in the most incredible fashion. The Super Over spell was – A Tie! The next criteria was the number of boundaries scored by each team. England had 23 to New Zealand’s 16- England were World Cup winners for the first time.
Incredible disappointment for Josh and his team, elation for England and their fans! Kane Williamson was incredible in his interview, there’d been what has since been shown to be a controversial, 4 overthrows, turned into 6 runs in the England innings. But no one piece of play decides a match. I can’t say this was a wonderful way to decide who won this World Cup, but both teams knew to would be the case before the final started, neither team deserved to lose this match, it was remarkable! But, CONGRATULATIONS TO ENGLAND, WORLD CUP WINNERS! This team had been tranformed over a period of 4 years and this win was the culmination of a dominant spell in 50 over cricket.