Agony for New Zealand, ecstasy for England | Sunday Observer

Agony for New Zealand, ecstasy for England

The global electrical grids were on fire! Human nerves were getting the shock treatment. Adrenaline was flowing at lighting speeds though the collective nervous systems of the one billion plus cricketing fans who watched this drama unfold.

This 50-over cricket final between England and New Zealand will go down in the history of the game for time immemorial. Never ever can one guess that this drama will be enacted again. Except in Video Games!

That the game ended in a tie after 50 overs with both sides making the identical score of 241 in their 50 overs was a fitting end to the World Cup. But then, the rules demanded that there be a victor and a vanquished. England emerged the Victor. The host country deserved it as they laid out classic fare throughout the tournament. But, yes only if, If cricking magnanimity prevailed over all emotions, the victor could have invited the vanquished to hold aloft the World Cup together to celebrate a victory that was a toss up!

For the record, after the tie, England the hosts were asked to take first strike in the super over, because they batted second in the first 50 overs. Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler scored 15 off that over.

When New Zealand replied, West Indian born Jofra Archer gave away 14 runs off the first five balls. With two needed for victory, off the last ball Martin Guptil was unfortunately run out going for what would have been the winning run which gave England the win on the count-back. The final moments were heart-stopping. It was AGONY for New Zealand and ECSTASY for England.

It was thrill a minute excitement from ball one to the last that was enjoyed by the packed house at the Holy Land of cricket Lord’s and the thousands soaking in the action in all over the cricket world.

At the end of the final, while New Zealand were unfortunate to lose, sympathies were with them, because they fought the good fight against a team that had excellent cricketers in this style of the game captained cleverly by Irish born Eoin Morgan and coached by Australian Trevor Bayliss.

England players on the other hand broke into great celebrations hugging each other and when the World Cup was presented to Captain Morgan there was hand claps sounding like thunder by their supporters who were majority in numbers on the ground.

Even the thousands who failed to obtain tickets to see the live action had their fill with the large screen installed at Traffalgar Square who were watching and cheering wildly for their side.

There was more than ordinary interest in the final because this was the first time that two countries who had never before figured in a final England and New Zealand was contesting the final.

From early morning cricket fans were streaming into the ground to take in the action not wanting to hazard a guess as to who would win, because both sides were equally matched with some of the most exciting cricketers in this style of the game on show.

England were red hot favourites to win the Cup for the first by the bookmakers and although having a few hiccups in the early rounds, losing particularly to SRI LANKA, they overcame other hurdles on their way to the winning line in the final. Having said that and to the game and when Kiwi captain Kane Williamson who had led the team brilliantly to the final won the toss and rightly decided to take first strike on a wicket that looked good for batting and big score to be made.

But as usual the game had to begin and with the first ball bowled, the wicket seemed a slow one with run making not going to be that easy. Much was expected from the big hitting opening batsman Martin Guptil.

But the England pacemen Chris Woakes and West Indian born Jofra Archer who has made waves in the tournament with his destructive pace had the Kiwi batsmen under control with some accurate bowling and some good ground fielding..

After Guptil went early, Henry Nicholls 55, Williamson 30 and Tom Latham 47 applied themselves against some tight bowling from Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett after the early burst from Woakes and Archer. It was sad that Ross Taylor who has been among the runs failed.

But when the Kiwi innings ended at 241 for 8 in 50 overs, it looked a challenging score considering that the wicket was tending to get slower as the game progressed making batting not that easy.

When England lost the dashing Jason Roy early and when England were struggling at 86 for 4 losing Bairstow 36, Joe Root 7 and Morgan 9 to a brilliant diving catch by Neesham at extra cover, New Zealand were on top.

But New Zealand never bargained for a 5th wicket stand of 110 by the destructive Ben Stokes 84 not out and Jos Buttler 59. After the stand was broken the Kiwi bowlers hit back strongly and when the last two batsmen Rashid and Wood were run out, the scores were tied with England making 241 all out.

Some of the cricket fans argued that instead of resorting to the super over, New Zealand should have been awarded the game because they had lost fewer wickets the two teams declared joint champions because the game ended in ties twice. Sensible thinking.

But the rules that were originally made stayed and the super over had to be bowled and what finally happened is history now and England was home by the skin of their teeth. But to the credit of the two teams England and New Zealand it must be said that they played the game maintaining the highest levels of sportsmanship considering that it is not the winning or losing that mattered but how one played the game.

As for the International Cricket Council it must be said that they being the organizers did a splendid job which was incident free, especially the security side of it, although the rain gods played the role of spoil sports to stall some of the games.

This was a match that will be related to the children like everlasting fable.

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