The 2019 Cricket World Cup Final: The Greatest Game

Immediately before yesterday’s cricket world cup final, Channel 4 showed highlights of the 2005 Ashes – a tussle frequently dubbed as The Greatest Series. Afterwards they went on to broadcast probably the greatest white ball game of all time.

The 2019 world cup final will live long in the memory as the game that finished in a tie twice: the main 50 overs per side, and then the subsequent super over. It was a stunning match in every way. And ultimately an outrageous fluke and a random technicality determined the outcome.

The eventual winner, of course, was England. The “mighty mighty” England as the Barmy Army like to sing. It feels so good to finally lift our first World Cup trophy.

However, as one gets older, becomes more philosophical, and learns to feel empathy for the opposition (especially when it’s a team as likeable as New Zealand), I found it hard to process my emotions at the end. England had triumphed – the culmination of four years of hard work – but in my opinion the better team on the day lost. And they only lost because of some egregious bad luck.

Just as it’s important to be a good loser, it’s also important to be a good winner – to be magnanimous and honest in victory. Consequently, as an England supporter, I feel it necessary to say (although many will disagree) that it should’ve been Kane Williamson, and his team of underdogs who possess a fraction of the resources enjoyed by the other semi-finalists, who deserved to win that world cup final.

Why do I think this? Because New Zealand had a plan, they stuck to it, and it worked really well. They took the bold decision to bat first – a move I initially thought was the wrong one at the time considering the early morning conditions – and then squeeze England as the pitch slowed down in the afternoon.

Williamson read the conditions perfectly, and his plan to exploit England’s only weakness – our hitters’ inability to chase totals on tricky batting wickets – was a beautiful one that neutrals and those who care more about the cricket than who wins were drooling over.

Over the last couple of years I’ve said time and again that England are a bloody fine side but they cannot claim to be the finished article until they’ve proved they can score runs and chase totals under pressure in conditions that don’t suit them. Yesterday was all set up for them to do so. And when Buttler and Stokes, who both played immaculate innings, were at the crease it looked like they would finally get that monkey off their back. It was going to be perfect. Absolutely perfect.

But then the game finished in what I thought was an unsatisfactory way that left me feeling a tad hollow.  After Ben Stokes had hit a brilliant six to make the game interesting again (with four balls left England looked dead and buried) a freakish incident shifted momentum in the cruellest way. A throw from the boundary, which may well have run Stokes out had it not hit his bat as he dived for the line, deflected away for four.

Stokes did nothing wrong – he decided not to seek advantage by running again as cricketers believe it’s wrong to profit from such deflections – but nobody could stop the ball rolling agonisingly to the boundary. Technically, even thought it’s hugely unfair, the result was another 4 runs (so six in total from that delivery)*. And it was the defining moment of the match. Instead of needing 7 off the last 2 balls, suddenly England only needed 3. And it was all because of this strange law that does not sit comfortably alongside convention.

In my humble opinion, the umpire should call dead ball after throws like this hit the batsmen. They should be awarded the initial runs (in this case two) but no more after the deflection. After all, if batsmen don’t run in such circumstances because they know it’s unfair, then why should the rulebook be punitive?

This terrible law also sets a terrible precedent. What’s to stop batsmen from deflecting the ball ‘accidentally on purpose’ to profit from such incidents in the future? Personally I think there’s a good chance they’ll change the law after this. But it will be too late for the poor Kiwis.

Unfortunately, New Zealand’s suffering at the hands of technicalities didn’t end there. When the game finished in a tie the visitors should have won by virtue of losing fewer wickets. There’s really no need for a super over in these circumstances – it’s just an attempt to cram in more drama and entertainment for television purposes.

What’s more, New Zealand were at a disadvantage in this super over because England got to bat first, with two players who already had their eye in and were acclimatised to the slowing pitch.

Why did England have the opportunity to bat first? Again it’s just an unfair technicality. It’s written in the rules that the team batting second in the main event gets to bat first in the super over. Why this should be the case nobody knows. It just is. And there’s no rhyme or reason for it.

Perhaps the cruellest twist of all was that New Zealand lost after securing another tie in the super over (despite being at a significant disadvantage) due to yet another technicality. When the scores are the level, super over regulations dictate that the team which has scored the most boundaries in the main match wins.

Boundaries? That’s right folks. Wickets lost – the traditional means of determining the winner in the event of a tie – are strangely irrelevant. And of course, hitting boundaries was never part of New Zealand’s brilliant game plan. They sought to run singles and accumulate, which was precisely the right strategy in the conditions. Yet they were punished for it. It was no way to decide a world cup final.

However, there is another way of looking at all this. And it’s perfectly valid. Laws are laws; technicalities are technicalities; and luck is part and parcel of sport. I completely accept that. But as England celebrated part of me was crying for New Zealand.

In my opinion England were outrageously fortunate to win this World Cup. And their run of good fortune started long before yesterday. They won two crucial tosses to qualify, and then lost a brilliant toss to lose in their semi final. However, weren’t we due some luck after the appalling way the cricketing Gods have treated us in previous tournaments?

Maybe it was fate that our last two group games were against teams that didn’t actually need to beat us to qualify? Everything went our way from the plays and misses, to the balls chipped in the air just out of the reach of fielders, to the poor umpiring decisions we profited from (and there were another couple yesterday). Our name was clearly on the trophy but so what?! Shit happens. So shouldn’t we just enjoy it?!

Unfortunately I can’t escape how I feel though. And I think it’s because it was New Zealand, rather than one of our traditional cricketing foes, who were the victims of our outrageous fortune. Had we beaten Australia in similar circumstances, or even India, I’d probably feel very differently. I might have laughed instead.

What’s more – and I cannot emphasise this enough – England didn’t deserve to win yesterday’s game but they deserved to win the tournament overall. They were the best side in the competition (alongside India) and they’ve been No.1 in the rankings for a long time. That has to count for something. And a world cup victory on home soil is a fitting reward for the way Eoin Morgan and Trevor Bayliss have turned our ODI team around.

The downside, of course, is that the ECB will use this triumph to argue that all in the garden is rosy when it clearly isn’t. What’s more, they’ll claim that this is the perfect time to launch The Hundred when the very opposite is clearly true. The big lesson everyone should learn from yesterday is that traditional forms of cricket can still engage and grip the nation. And the fact C4 showed 90 mins of build up before play shows there’s a considerable appetite for ‘normal’ cricket amongst terrestrial broadcasters too. Let’s not forget that the BBC signed up for franchise cricket when they thought it would be a T20 competition.

Perhaps that’s the other reason for my conflicted emotions. English cricket is so badly run that we don’t deserve to be world champions – a point made brilliantly in this article by Barney Ronay in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago. If you haven’t already read this piece then I strongly suggest you do so.

Put it this way: English cricket triumphed at Lord’s on free-to-air television yesterday but the game will soon disappear behind a pay-wall again. What’s more, the ECB are immediately turning their backs on 50-over cricket (they’ve cancelled all domestic 50-over first team cricket from next summer) to accommodate Harrison’s Harebrained Have A Hit. Only the ECB could win a cricket world cup final but then immediately handicap the future development of the team they’ve done so much to champion.

However, it’s vitally important to separate the players from the board here. The board do not deserve an ounce of the credit that many in the mainstream media will inevitably give them. The players, on the other hand, deserve all the plaudits they get. Each and every one of them is a hero:

Jason Roy was one of the players of the tournament. He was brilliant. Ditto Jonny Bairstow. Joe Root batted poorly yesterday but he’s been an absolute rock. Eoin Morgan’s leadership has been awesome. Ben Stokes has been sensational with that bat. What’s more, I doubt we would’ve won without Jos Buttler’s brilliant half-century yesterday. He’s one of the best white ball batsmen in the world and possibly our best ODI player ever.

And then we come to the bowlers. What more can we say about Chris Woakes? He’s such a solid professional and a great all-round guy. Liam Plunkett with also immense. Adil Rashid did well to battle his shoulder injury. Mark Wood was electric to watch – possibly the fastest bowler in the tournament – whilst Jofra Archer was a revelation. What a find he’s been.

So did England deserve to win yesterday’s world cup final? In my opinion, no. But are they worthy world champions? Oh yes. Undoubtedly. This tournament was a marathon not a sprint. And we outlasted every other team through pure talent and immense character.

Well done, lads. Well done. You’ve done the nation proud and we’re all immensely proud of you.

James Morgan

*It has just been confirmed by Simon Taufel (from MCC Laws subcommittee) that the umpires should have awarded England 5 runs not 6, and that Rashid should have been on strike for the penultimate delivery and not Stokes. Wow. More terrible bad luck for New Zealand. Click here for more.

Join our mailing list to receive new article notifications

We keep your data private and never share it with third parties.


  • Superb achievement and as an Irish cricket supporter, the icing on the cake was to see Dubliner Eoin Morgan lead the team to an incredible victory.

    • Thanks. I suspect some are going to absolutely hammer me! I’ve just tried to be honest. I loved how we beat the Aussies in the semi. It was a real high. But yesterday I felt very mixed emotions and I’ve struggled to understand why.

      • You’ve said exactly what I feel about it – they deserved to win the game, but we did deserve to win the comp.

        I think the tie break rule is worth a bit of emphasis. There were multiple other options (group stage position, HTH, wins vs highest rank teams etc etc), all of which make more sense in the context of a seven week comp as a tie breaker than the ridiculous (Stanford generated apparently) boundary decision.

        This is obvious, with hindsight. But the ICC have hundreds of people working full time, for years, on good pay working on this and it’s their job to think these things through. And they failed, badly.

        Of course, it so happens that all those tie breaks would have favoured England. And that would have been right, and fair, and far easier for New Zealand to accept.

        Can you imagine what would have happened if the home team had lost under those circumstances, anywhere in the world? Lots of places would have seen stands burned down.

        Cricket, especially in England, is very very badly served by completely incompetent useless administrators, and “our” CEO is disgustingly overpaid, for no reason other than that he negotiates TV deals that destroy our game.

  • Glad it wasn’t only me feeling like this, even down to the fact that yes I would have laughed if Stokes had got the deflection against India or Australia!
    Always irks me how the role of luck is never given the prominence it sometimes merits, with yesterday being perhaps the most extreme example of all.

  • Interesting article. I thought England played well yesterday and did all aspects of the game just as well as Nee Zealand. Whilst they got some huge fortunes of luck with the deflection, they also had some decisions go against them (as did NZ). Whilst the deflection was important, NZ had their big moment when Boult was too casual and stepped on the rope to give us a six. Would be interesting to know when the rule was changed, to boundaries, rather than wickets, however I suspect it’s been a rule for a while and all teams would have been aware of it.

  • There is much more to be said about this game, but as a NZ supporter I felt the only unfairness was the most boundaries rule. Plainly that was a law drafted by people who didn’t believe for a second it would be needed, especially in the final. Anyone knows a gutsy innings where a master batsman works the ball around for 40 singles, 2’s and 3’s is at least as entertaining and skilful as the slogger who flukes a few edged boundaries and clubs a few in front of the wicket before getting out. It is no basis on which to decide the result of a match never mind an entire tournament.

    Otherwise, the stokes 6 wasn’t unfair, it was a fluke. And I thought the super over favoured nz as they were all on the field playing whereas Buttler and Archer had had their feet up assuming their day was done.

    At the end of the day NZ didn’t lose in any meaningful sense but England had the better tournament and didn’t seem unworthy champions in the circumstances. And of course has it been Australia the rest of the cricket world would have chortled at their misfortune; nz on the other hand especially since McCullum’s wonderful leadership example have not had a single critic in the whole cricketing community.

    • Thanks James. I think we (England supporters) should remember that it was New Zealand (under McCullum’s leadership) who taught England how to play modern ODI cricket. Very happy that Kane got player of the tournament. In situations like that, the best thing would be to share the trophy.

      • Had they shared the trophy then it would have shown cricket as a shining light of sportsmanship. It would have been the perfect ending in many ways. Everyone wins.

        I did wonder if Eoin & Kane could have had a quiet meeting after the crucial deflection. They can’t change the score but they might have negotiated a compromise e.g. Stokes leaves the next ball so it’s a dot.

        I watched a game between Leeds and Aston Villa last year when Leeds scored (at home) after Villa stopped playing momentarily because one of their players was injured. Villa thought Leeds were going to put the ball out of play so he could receive treatment but then they suddenly launched an attack and scored instead. A fight subsequently broke out in which a Villa player was sent off (even though he never touched anyone). The Leeds manager immediately took the heat out of the situation by ordering his players to let Villa score from the kickoff. And that’s what happened. They walked the ball down into the net while the crowd booed. If football can produce a moment so sporting then why not cricket?

  • Eoin Morgan must be the worst Captain in the world at allocating his last ten overs to bowlers. It seems that every match there’s a bowler in brilliant form who doesn’t bowl his full ten whereas someone having an off day does bowl all ten. Morgan should just stop for a minute after 40 overs and work out how the last ten are going to play out. Yesterday he messed up and didn’t give Woakes (our best bowler on the day) his full ten. He had the opportunity to take an over away from Wood or (maybe) Archer but he didn’t take it. In a match that was tied, this decision could have cost us the win. Maybe the reason we play with six bowlers is that Morgan can’t be entrusted to work with only five without having to resort to bro going on Joe Root for the 49th when he realises Rashid, Wood, Plunkett and Archer are all bowled out and Woakes has two overs left.

    Having said that, there were so many unlucky moments for New Zealand yesterday (including umpiring decisions as well as on the pitch stuff) that it’s all pretty moot. New Zealand deserved to win and were so graceful in defeat that England’s victory comes with a huge of guilty feeling.

    • Im sure Morgan knows exactly what he’s doing. Under his captaincy the team wins 3 out of 4 ODI’s. As any Warwick supporter will tell you Woakes is a fine new ball bowler, but much less effective at the death. His pace is ideal for tail Enders to hit. Archer is no callow youth, having played a number of IPL games where he’s been required to bowl against class batsmen at the death for just an over. None of our other bowlers have that sort of recent experience.
      The reason pretty much every side plays with 6 bowlers is a safety first thing, allowing for one of your top five to have a less than successful day and as a precaution against injury. It’s a standard ODI tactic.
      New Zealand coped better with the conditions generally, but we were clearly the best side in the tournament, playing the most consistently entertaining and high risk game quite effectively on largely less than flat tracks, and it’s difficult to feel sorry for something of a one man team, who did well to reach the semis. Williamson captained astutely throughout and scored over a third of his team’s runs, deservedly getting the player of the tournament award. Conditions clearly favoured his players, yet we scrambled a win. I have no guilt.

  • I was actually at Lord’s yesterday I can assure you that no-one shares your feelings. We loved the moment, for once got lucky, and we lifted the trophy for the first time in our history.
    Seriously, can we just ****ing enjoy the moment?

    • Everyone at the ground was probably A) drunk, and B) didn’t really understand what was going on. The news today is that the umpires made a mistake in awarding England six runs after the deflection. It should have been 5 and with Rashid on strike for the penultimate ball. Obviously I want England to win, and to enjoy us winning, but not when it comes from pure bad luck and egregious umpiring mistakes. Show some empathy for NZ mate. That’s important too.

      • I was at Lords, Warner Stand. Lots of people, while enjoying our triumph, felt exactly as you have described. The NZ team were waiting for the presentation pretty much right in front of us, and lots of people made their feelings clear. Quite a few of their team gently applauded us for our reaction. They are a really class act – which isn’t to say that Morgan wasn’t quite gracious in recognising our good fortune in multiple statements and pressers afterwards.

      • This is professional sport, where winning is pretty much everything. What’s the next step, feeling sorry for the Aussies in ’05 and ’09. DONT THINK SO!!
        Speculating that everyone on the ground was ‘probably’ drunk or didn’t know what was going on without any evidence, does you no credit James. It’s a cheap comment and unworthy of you.

        • That’s a bit of an over-reaction Marc. Did they announce the rules over the tannoy? Nobody watching on TV knew precisely what was going on until the commentators eventually told us (and even they had to look it up). Ian Smith simply said ‘England will win if the super over is a tie” as the action started again. He didn’t mention it was something to do with scoring more boundaries. I doubt he knew at that point; therefore I severely doubt 30,000 people did. I certainly didn’t.

          • Just to be clear, there was a clear announcement, on the ground, before the Super Over began, saying that the tie breaker was boundaries, and in the event that that was called on, that England would be the winners.

          • Not really. Sweeping generalisations without evidence is cheap. As I’ve said before, you set the tone for this blog and do have a responsibility to be even handed. It was clear they were announcing the conditions of the Super Over on the tannoy as the New Zealand batsmen were coming down the stairs in the pavilion. Also I saw precious little evidence on camera of the sort of drunken behaviour we get in spades during a test match.

    • Great reply. When you have to sit through that sort of torture hour after hour the release is everything. Deserves doesn’t come into it till much later if you’re partisan. Really jealous you can say ‘I was there’

  • Yes agree entirely James. To me a tie is a tie. Super over? Rubbish. In fairness it’s a shared trophy. But the public demands a winner. I don’t think England would have been so gracious in defeat either.

    • Got to love cricket. If the sport can find a way to do something ridiculous at important moments, it will damn well do it! Congratulations to the English team though. Absolutely frigging awesome that the game was on FTA. Best thing about the entire tournament.

    • England have always been gracious losers. We’ve been there and done that often enough.

    • If it wasn’t for the Super Over we wouldn’t be talking like this about the game and it certainly wouldn’t have created the media fuss, so raising the profile. You can’t go through weeks of a high profile professional tournament and end with a tie. Someone has to win, and using boundaries as a tie criteria seems fine to me as that’s exactly the image the organisers of the white ball game want to promote. They provide 4 and 6 cards for fans to wave, not wicket cards, so it’s clear where their priorities lie. You might not agree with it but it’s consistent with what the promoters want. If you go back to who won the round robin game that’s bringing factors into the equation that have nothing to do with the final itself, which for me is unsatisfactory.

  • By the rules of the game, the 6 overthrows should of actually only been 5, leaving Rashid on strike for the last ball – huge umpire error. Morgan bowling Archer in the super over cost England the game, two massive mistakes from Morgan – Woakes not completing his 10 overs and not bowling the super over. The only reason is that he was injured, but nothing in the reports to suggest he was.
    Good on England, deserve the win and giving us cricket tragics the best world cup final ever!

  • What nonsense…

    Firstly England batting first. The rules are the team batting second, bat’s first in the super over. New Zealand had choice of who batted first in the game so if they didn’t want the risk of batting second in the super over, they could have chosen to bowl in the game proper. Anyway I don’t see any advantage in batting first in the super over, doing so put archer under incredible pressure. So this is a poor point.

    Secondly boundaries. There had to be a winner, a shared cup is deeply unsatisfactory. There are loads of tie breakers they could use, some would benefit England and some new zealand. This was the tie breaker in the rules, new zealand knew they had to score an extra run therefore and they failed to do so so lost. Again poor point.

    Yes the Stokes incident was incredibly lucky. It gave England 4 runs. It did not decide the match. It is 4 runs. Howabout the woakes wide which hit a lucky bounce and beat butter. Pure bad luck cost England 4 runs there. Its cricket, luck impacts all throughout the game.

    It was an incredibly tight match. This kind of thing is going to be decided by tight margins. Sometimes they go for you and sometimes they don’t. Yesterday they went for us. I don’t see the point of writing an article about how England didn’t deserve to win.

    • I completely agree. And had we halved the amount of extras given to them, then we would have won a lot easier.
      One other point made: Do you think NZ would really have given two craps if they had had the luck? No. And do WE really care? I have been a cricket fan ever since I saw willow on ball at the age of 8 (33 years), and most of my time supporting England has been a pretty horrible experience (1989-2004 especially).
      So am I loving this? YES!

    • You are concentrating on four extra runs because it was a freakish chance. But chance plays its part throughout the game of cricket. Every cricketer knows that. Bowlers exploit that. Chance is called luck when it works for you. There’s an odd rule about five extra runs when the ball hits a dormant helmet behind the wicket keeper. But really in every moment in the game it can go for you or against you. That’s how life works because of the chance interactions of everything despite a plotted course. Williamson for all his great captaincy can’t control those unexpected elements. As he said himself it’s pointless to focus on one particular thing when a game is made up of so many crucial outcomes over a day. England bowled a lot of wides which easily could have lost a tight game. One or two of them were tight calls.
      I want to celebrate a pitch which allowed a proper game of old fashioned cricket between bat and ball. The ECB didn’t get a slogfest but they got real excitement and tension of despair and hopes that kept everyone enthralled. The ICC were in charge of pitches. Lesson anyone? If you want cricket with wickets as well as runs chances are (hmm) you will get thrilling games of highs and lows. We had that beyond price! In fact the more you include bowlers the more chances the game offers.
      Woakes bowled less than his 10 in the Semifinal (8). So Morgan seems to deliberately underbowl him. Odd because each time he’s brought back he gets wickets. I thought Archer a poor choice for the Super Over as he’d given away 15 runs in a poorly bowled over in the match with wides. Woakes was so difficult to get away but overlooked here as well. Don’t think it would be just Morgan’s decision though? I have no hangups about World Cup happiness. What a lovely glow as well as jumping around the living room punching the air! My advice is to enjoy it James. It was a tied game but it had tiebreaks. And we came out on the right side. But after hours and hours of unstinting work by both sides the winner does deserve the prize.

  • ECB will totally miss a trick now – with a sudden rush of interest in cricket following this win, and the Ashes disappearing behind the paywall, will ECB do a massive advertising campaign for the T20 Blast which is about to start this week? No chance. But some of the WC winners will probably be playing for their counties, great opportunity to go along and watch a shortened version of what they saw yesterday. But perhaps they don’t want to have people getting interested in T20 when their stupid Hundred is coming up next year. By which time any interest the WC has generated will be completely gone.

  • Neither England nor New Zealand deserved to lose such an incredible, final when they couldn’t be split after 50 overs each.

    Using a Super Over to decide was farcical. ICC has turned cricket into a football or hockey match !

    It was a curious, contentious small-print rule, that decided the winner. What a shame. !

    When you’re playing a final of a World Cup after seven weeks ‘ of hard toil, , to decide it by some obscure means that is made for T20 cricket is ridiculous..

    By the looks of it, ICC has just copy-pasted the playing conditions from Twenty20. Using the highest number of boundaries to determine who wins in the event of a tied Super Over. is a disgrace to this great game of cricket !

    • Define, ‘The great game of cricket’, which changes with the wind more than any other major sport, reflecting the changing mores of society. Go back a mere 100 years and see how different the game was then.
      There’s no evidence of a ‘golden age’ as each generation reinterprets the game, like it or loathe it.
      You have to have a winner of any tournament, deserves has nothing to do with it. This happens in all sports.
      At least yesterday’s match wasn’t reduced to the farce of players bowling at a stump, for me that is probably the most ludicrous of all the alternatives to a tie I’ve come accross.

  • James
    These were exactly my post match thoughts also, England fan though I am. The latest news that it should have been a five leaves me even number.

  • I’ve really no problem with it. These things happen in cricket quite often, albeit, admittedly, rarely at the deep end of a game. Jofra’s first ball of the super over shouldn’t have been a wide, it was within the line. I’d have felt pretty confident of Rashid getting 4 from 2 (I think he should go in above Plunkett and Archer) – in any case, as Taufel says, a completely understandable mistake for umpires to make.
    I think there’s no fear of people deflecting things “accidentally on purpose”. It will, with video replays, clearly look like it was on purpose, and batsmen will be out, and ashamed.
    New Zealand were unlucky, but not egregiously so. It was an even game that could have gone either way.

  • Awarding 6 instead of 5 was not even the most egregious umpire error in this match. Any match where Dharmasena is umpiring has plenty of straightforward bloopers. It is wrong to be too critical of the umpires because the regulation requires them to be simultaneously watching the fielder, who may be on the boundary, and the batsmen, to judge whether they crossed before the instant the fielder released the ball. This may be difficult (in some circumstances impossible) for any one umpire to do. It can only be decisively interpreted if suitable footage is available. The error of judgment pointed out by Taufel was not to scrutinise the replay for the relative timing. But it is a ridiculous provision in any case. The rule should obviously say that they get the run if they crossed before the ball from the field hit the bat. When it was thrown is completely irrelevant, and the Rules Committee should revise it.

  • Like most of your correspondents I agree with you, James Morgan. I have been an England supporter since I went with my brother to watch England Play India at the Oval in 1946. (The whole day out travelling 15 miles on a tram from Purley, cost…7/6d!) Yet I do not feel the pleasure of winning like we did even after all the disappointments over the years when luck was not with us. I only take issue with you over the Super over. However, I agree that it was ludicrous to award the tie to the side scoring most boundaries . It should have been the side losing least wickets and then the number of boundaries if equal. Incidentally, I cannot understand why it should have been 5 and not 6. Surely Stokes completed the second run and the lucky deflection added the 4 extra runs as awarded by the umpire. But change the law so that in similar circumstances the ball is called dead. .

    • The fielder had collected the ball before they had crossed, the rule calls it “the act”.

  • Greteat finish to a white ball game yes, for me, greatest white ball game, certainly not. White ball cricket is about runs, as all the restrictions are quite deliberately designed to make life more difficult for the fielding side. The spectacle was largely spoiled by a sub standard pitch, allowing less than class bowlers to maintain a stranglehold on class batsmen all day. This just got worse as the game went on, with a county second string bowler returning 1 for 25 from 10 overs. That’s not great entertainment! The only batsmen to look anything like all day was Butler, who is the greatest natural timer of a ball I’ve seen since Gower. He seems to be able to maintain his run a ball stats whatever the conditions. Boult, after his first spell looked the least threatening of all the New Zealander bowlers, the rest, hardly better than county standard, only had to turn their arm over to beat the bat a couple of times an over. Look what the conditions did to a player like Root, who was reduced to a club hitter at the end, unable to time anything.
    Only when the sun had been out a while did the pitch settle down enough to accumulate consistently, though timing boundary hits was still something of a lottery right to the end as the pitch died a death. All this may have produced a dramatic finish, and England certainly had the rub of the green much of the time, but take away the last hour and what have you got special enough to remember? Yes, all the bowlers used the conditions well, but they were so in favour of seam that as long as you bowled a decent line and length that was enough to cause problems.
    Fantastic for this great England side to win though, they may not have been the best team on the day as conditions favoured the New Zealander’s more cautious style of play, defending low totals, but they were clearly the best team in the tournament and for me the greatest white ball outfit I’ve ever seen, with more match winners than any other. Can you imagine any other team having the players to win that contest under those conditions after losing their top 4 for 80?
    Butler is a freak of nature and Stokes a force of nature and together they defied nature to win it for us.
    For me, the more white ball can be separated from its Red ball cousin the better, so contrivances like the ‘Super Over’ if they can create more drama, are clearly beneficial to raising the profile of the game. Would we all be talking like this about yesterday the way we are if the match had been declared a tie? On Sky sports news there were more highlights of the cricket than Hamiltons Silverstone record win and Wimbledon’s record men singles final put together. This was largely due to the drama of the ‘Super Over’, effectively producing a double whammy of nerve jangling finales within minutes of each other. There’s not another sport able to do this in the same way at such a high level. It’s great to see footie relegated to an also ran for a time, even if it’s bound to bounce back with a vengeance during the Ashes.

    • I get your point, but I don’t think it was a ‘poor’ pitch but rather a ‘difficult’ pitch, and I absolutely loved it.

      One of the most glorious aspects of cricket for me is how conditions affect a match situation, both pitch and overhead, and how captains, bowlers and batsmen adapt. In the modern game where 400 is attainable, we have to have pitches where 350 can be short of a par score but 240 can also be a tough chase. My only worry yesterday was that the pitch would be too green and the side batting first would be rolled over like some Lords finals were a few years ago: ‘win the toss, win the match’

      I thought it was a masterstroke from Williamson to bowl de Grandhomme when he did and keep him on for the full 10 – he was the perfect pace for the wicket. County standard or whatever, but the fact that Williamson clocked that it’s not always about your best bowler, but the best bowler for the pitch and situation makes me love yesterday even more.

      • How can a mere difficult pitch reduce the likes of Root to a hack facing a part timer like De Grandholme? Agree it was a ‘master stroke’ to bowl him instead of Santner, but how can you justify in a show piece occasion like a World Cup final such a wicket. Apparantly the reason so much grass was left on was because the groundsman was unsure the pitch would last if he shaved more. Instead we had a surface that just died later in the game, making attractive batting almost impossible.
        People keep moaning about flat track roads, of which incidentally there have been precious few in this tournament. I would say that this was worse, as it actively sabotaged skill levels. If white ball matches had to be played on these type of wickets it’s appeal would die overnight, as good batsmen would struggle against ordinary bowlers.
        In almost 100 innings there have only been a handful over 350 and less than 4 sixes hit an innings on average. I get tired of the flat track bullies syndrome. It’s an easy option with this side, who have always stuck to their guns over style of play, because they have the players suited to it. Of course It gives other teams a chance if they choose to play the conditions more.
        Lower totals are bound to result in closer finishes statistically, as there’s fewer runs to get in the first place. For a few overs of tension and excitement we have to put up with hours of mediocrity. There was nothing memorable about New Zealand’s batting yesterday and that took the best part of 4 hours. We tried to bat true to out style but eventually had to try and adapt because of the importance of the occasion, which resulted in a reduction in strokeplay, the lifeblood of the white ball game. Watching the likes of Stokes and Butler struggle to lay the middle of the bat on anything against lesser bowlers is not entertainment in my book. If it had been a bilateral tournament we would have probably lost playing more aggressively, as the occasion itself would have been of less importance.

      • I agree completely about the pitch. Dealing with it needed a great deal of skill and the tension ran throughout the entire day. Anything could have happened at any minute and it did. Far more interesting than a mindless here today, gone tomorrow slog-fest.

        • You can’t deal with a pitch like that, however skilful, you just have to trust to luck when you go for your shots. Have played on many such pitches in club cricket and it’s no fun for the batsmen and usually results in trundlers taking the wickets. It was only interesting because it happened to coincide with a close finish. Most poor pitches won’t result in this, they just slip away into mediocrity, as ordinary bowlers get on top of good batsmen.
          If you’re a player who spends years honing their skills to win major events and then finds this undermined by lottery conditions at the death, how do you suppose it feels. If anything can happen at any time then it’s a lottery by definition. This is not good for any game as it rewards mediocrity and takes away a lot of the skill.
          I don’t understand the ‘mindless slog fest’ argument. As I repeatedly say white ball cricket is created for runs over wickets, as all the rules favour the batsmen. Give me a ‘road’ any day, where at least you see both sides providing plenty of entertainment, even in the event of a less than close finish. A show piece occasion needs to showcase talent, not sabotage it.

          • Great pitch
            Great game

            A flat track would have produced a one sided biff fest and that would have produced little to no interest. This wicket forced players into being more selective, and use more skills than simply standing and hitting..

            Bairstow tried to just biff and could have chopped on many times but got very lucky again. These pitches are sporting pitches and will provide many more times drama than a flat track ever could.

            Flat tracks won’t bring people to the game and it won’t keep them. Leave roads for 2020’s and the drunk brigade

            • For a show piece occasion a great pitch does not allow the De grandholmes of this world to bowl 10 overs for 25 runs. How many times would a pitch like this produce a finish like that? You can never say the pitch was resoponsible for the finish whatever its state. How is that pitch sporting when world class batsmen like Root are reduced to club hitters through frustration as the ball seams about, stops in the surface and allows mediocre bowlers to become potential match winners, beating the bat every over without needing much in the way of skill, just putting it on a decent line and length and letting the pitch do the rest, rather like a 5th dat test pitch. It makes a mockery of the attractive strokeplay people come to see in white ball cricket. For a nerve jangling hour we had to sit through 7 of mediocrity as the balance of power shifted as far the other way as flat tracks favouring the batsmen.
              White ball cricket has always been about the batsmen with all the restrictive regulations applying to the fielding side, actively encouraging the batting side to hit over the top with power plays leaving inviting gaps in the outfield. How is it entertaining to watch class batters reduced to accumulating mediocrity by ordinary bowlers on lottery pitches. The only batsman that looked anything like on Sunday was Butler, who for me is the best natural timer of a ball I’ve seen since Gower, so he’s something of a freak. In the New Zealand innings they went over 15 overs without being able to find a boundary, that is against the spirit of the white ball game, which cannot by judged by red ball standards. Punters get given cards to wave when 4’s and 6’s are scored, not when wickets are taken, this tells you a lot about the way the white ball game is structured. You may not like it but it’s what the organisers want to promote as a package.
              In the best part of 100 innings this tournament has produced only a handful of big scores and less than 4 sixes an innings, very few flat tracks there, so entertaining games can be played on less than flat tracks.
              This idea that there’s nothing more to hitting than simply standing still and wafting the bat is ludicrous. The kind of shots that batsmen have developed over recent years are as skilful as any used in the test arena. White ball batting is becoming as scientific an excercise as red ball.

    • As usual Marc is on the button, “The spectacle was largely spoiled by a sub standard pitch, allowing less than class bowlers to maintain a stranglehold on class batsmen all day. ”

      Grandhomme 10 overs 1 for 24. Says it all.

      But somehow cricket managed to produce high drama and great theatre.

      My concern, now, is that Lords used three tracks; two down hill from the test wicket and one above – all three were dreadful. Anyone seeing the first match on the 23rd June could have worked out how the four further matches would work. Bat first (whatever the atmospherics were) and take what little pace there was before it dissolved as fast as snow on a spring morning.

      We have a new groundsman. Did Mr Hunt leave him a nightmare for the prime wickets? Can he possibly retrieve the situation by mid-August for the Test Match v Australia?

      • I have a fan, I didn’t think they existed. Thank you for being so long suffering as to read my diatribes. But I sometimes feel I’m fighting a losing battle trying to promote the virtues of white ball cricket as a separate entity from red ball. It’s not better or worse, just different in format, technique and in the kind of conditions it needs to provide the entertainment it’s designed for. I get frustrated with the largely dismissive attitudes of folk, as though red ball is written in stone as the definitive form of the game.

  • James, I agree with most of what you said. In fact I shouted long and hard at the TV when that deflection took place. Having consulted my “Tom Smith’ I was not necessarily clearer but I would have called dead ball.
    In principle I would have been happy with a tie and the trophy being shared but we are increasingly obsessed with winners and losers.
    Anyway we cannot change what’s happened and I hope that England and the English public will be gracious in victory. Apart from the oppositions we beat the English weather.
    Throughout the competition there has been some poor umpiring and yesterday was no exception.
    But it was a thoroughly absorbing game and I don’t think I’ve been so excited since 2005.
    It was marvellous to see this take precedence over Federer/Djokovic and F1 on both BBC and ITV news.
    As to whether the mood can be captured and exploited (in the nicest possible way) I have severe doubts. We failed to do so after Ashes 2005 and the present crowd at the ECB are way way worse than those in charge 14 years ago.

  • Also and if new zealand want to blame anyone (and to their eternal credit they don’t seem to be trying to blame anything), they should be looking at the guy who ducked the last ball of their innings.

    Compare that to wood and rashid running themselves out for maybe a 1 percent chance of an extra run.

    Re Morgan use of bowlers. I always think its a waste to have more than 5 genuine bowlers as you do end up with that situation where a key bowler doesn’t bowl out. I prefer 5 full bowlers with a part timer. Especially given that woakes at 7 made the lower order very long indeed.

  • Lucky one England, four years of work almost came to nought in that last over. James, you are correct in saying this is a batsman’s game, why else would you have the boundaries rule that no-one had ever heard of. Wickets lost should been in the mix somewhere. What would of happened if boundaries were tied as well, maybe penalties ?…England, maintain the form for the next 20 years and you will have a record to match Australia. Hollow victory in my opinion, nice guys do indeed finish last.

  • Interesting and thought provoking article on what was a fantastic achievement by the understated Eoin Morgan and all his team. The fact that the match was decided in the end on which team scored most boundaries seems pretty leftfield to me [hope I’ve got Stokes patrolling the leftfield boundary !] and I can’t help feeling that this should be changed. I’m sure that the demeanour of Kane Williamson and his team in defeat has won them legions of new fans. Perhaps it’s possible to overanalyse or agonise over what happened. Life is not always fair. Should cricket be ? ‘What do we know of cricket ?’

  • Brave article but a true one!All true cricket fans around the world feels the same.NZ must’ve won!But you can’t blame luck!Luck favoured the hosts!Whatever,both teams were equally impressive yesterday That’s why the match got tied!

  • An interesting question following this tournament is how it will impact on selection for the Ashes series. I do fear that the English selectors may make the age old error of assuming that white ball success will translate to the test arena. However, the white kookaburra ball is not the same as a red Duke. And the restrictions in the 50 over game (field, over limits, short boundaries, pitch only used for 100 overs etc) make for a very different challenge. I particularly fear the following;

    A team loaded with white ball bangers as the batting line up. Good as they are playing through the line of a ball with little lateral movement, I am not convinced that Roy, Buttler and Bairstow can have similar success against more significant and consistent movement, especially from bowlers like Starc and Cummins. The only saving factor here is that it is difficult to come up with alternative batsmen, so successful have the ECB been in corrupting batting techniques.

    A focus on speed amongst the (non Jimmy Anderson) bowlers. The risk is that they play Archer and Wood (and even Broad) ahead of Woakes, despite the fact that Englsih conditions suit Woakes perfectly and that he is the only Englsih bowler other than Anderson with the movement and control to exploit them.

    A complete memory fade about the role of spin in tests. It is one thing to only go with one spinner in a 50 over game (and to make that a leggie for the shock value); but tests are over 5 days with pitches wearing significantly and bringing finger spinners (either off spin or SLA) more into the game.

    And worst of all……the risk that they give Buttler the gloves for the Ashes. He was less than adequate through the WC, missing several stumpings and catches (including one stumping I would have expected to make at 64) – but we won the WC with him keeping so it must be ok! The obvious line up has Buttler as a specialist bat and Foakes as keeper, but we are talking Mr Ed so my confidence in common sense is limited.

    I hope all my fears are groundless but if they are I will be pleasantly (and very) surprised.

  • Am I the only one concerned that the MCC/Lord’s prepared and provided a wicket totally unsuited to good stroke play. I was there as an MCC member and I was rather ashamed that Lord’s couldn’t supply an absolute belter of a wicket. Non elf the world class batsmen could play through the line and entertain the crown with classic shots. Bothe the innings were just a big hustle. I can only remember one straight drive and not one front foot cover or off drive. They were all worried about ‘popping it up’. Unfortunately this greatly reduced the chances for England to impose their superior batting strength! i am hoping that Lord’s does not allow this mistake to get lost in the euphoria of the occasion!

    • Apparently this was the instruction of the ICC not the ECB not to let the ECB impose their will.

    • I also thought that the pitch was disappointing at first. I wanted more boundaries for the neutral and newcomers to cricket as the game was on terrestrial TV. However, the finish was absolutely superb and the game couldn’t have been more dramatic in the end. Therefore I felt the need to eat my words.

      • You talk about the pitch being responsible for the finish. I would say that’s at best an optimistic judgement. Under those conditions how many close finishes would you get, where almost every bowler was beating the bat almost every over and where attractive stokeplay was reduced to a minimum. Any argument that suggests more than the odd one, would have trouble justifying itself. To me this was a one off occasion just as likely or unlikely to be repeated in a high scoring game.
        I don’t understand how any pitch that allows a part timer like De Grandholme to bowl 10 overs for 25 runs against classy white ball batsmen, especially in a showpiece occasion like this, can be lauded as better entertainment than a flat track road. Please explain. It’s a mystery to me.
        White ball cricket has always been about runs over wickets, hence all the restrictions are placed on the fielding side and reversing this doesn’t make for more entertainment in my book. Batsmen still have to adapt to weather conditions and bowlers skill levels. Using red ball, standards to judge white ball matches doesn’t work for me as the formats require a totally different viewing perspective.
        As I have repeatedly said how many hours of frustrating mediocrity do you have to watch as good batsmen struggle against average bowlers, for you exciting last hour.

        • To be fair De Grandhomme he was one of the most economical bowlers in the whole tournament, conceding just a smidge more than 4 per over in ten games. His career economy in ODIs is also under 5 which is a fantastic effort in the modern game. He’s no part-timer. He’s also got a test bowling average of 31 and a first class average of 30. He’s not quick but he’s mighty effective.

          • The slow pitches were ideal for him and certainly yesterday he profited more than any other from the conditions. Williamson displayed lot of nous in using him. Maybe I was a bit unkind calling him a part timer, but I see him as a batsmen who bowls a bit when conditions suit. He was certainly a second change when at Warwickshire, much more important as a batsman.
            What was strange, bearing in mind how conditions suited, was how almost none of the sides in this tournament played genuine medium pacers. There were a lot of medium quicks who seemed to spend most of their time bowling slower deliveries. We might have profited from having a Gooch like bowler in the side.

            • They do not really exist today (except as 4th seamers or part timers). As a Warwickshire man you may remember Tom Cartwright (who I watched as a junior member in the late 60s). He is the last genuine front line medium pacer I can remember, mores the pity.

              As an aside I saw Cartwright captaining and bowling for Old England against Chichester in the very late 90s (when he must have been in his late 60s). His action was unchanged.

              • Tom Cartwright was my coach as a youngster, along with Alan Townsend, so I always had a vested interest in his performances, though he was at the end of his career by then. You didn’t need a bowling machine in the nets, he just put the ball on the proverbial sixpence most of the time. He was a hard taskmaster though, not suffering fools.

            • The great Gloucester sides of the early 2000s won loads of trophies this way. The likes of James Avery and Ian Harvey would bowl medium pace, wicket to wicket, with Jack Russell standing up to the stumps. They were a nightmare to score off.

              • But Averis was not a real front line bowler with 156 FC wickets at 43. And Harvey was a bit more than medium pace being perfectly able to bowl a bouncer. Perhaps my definition of a front line medium pacer is a bit strict, but for me they need to be one of the sides main bowlers in FC (not white ball) cricket, and medium means circa 70mph – not upper 70s with the option of a quick ball in the 80s.

                Cartwright was exactly as my criteria require, could land the ball on a sixpence and move it both ways. And 1500 FC wickets at 19 puts him in a very different category. In todays FC game I would bet on him to dismiss Buttler, Roy or Bairstow within a couple of overs – because if you had a weakness against lateral movement and attacked him he was lethal.

        • Flat tracks literally produce interesting games super super rarely. They are 99% of thr time one sided and very predictable very early in the game. The neutral won’t get interested in that type of game and they won’t atay interested.

          Drama, tension is one of the key an doften forgotten reasons people fall in love with sport. Flat tracks don’t produce that. 2020 is where your flat tracks need to live, 50 over is perfect for that type of final wicket and then tests for genuine more bowler friendly tracks to really test batsmen as you’re supposed to be the best

          • Completeley right.

            Why Why Why is it that administrators, commentators, journalists all seem to find it so difficult to grasp that cricket is a far far better game when, if there isn’t the ideal perfect balance between bat and ball, the ball is on top?

            Every single time they whine about the pitch, and then go on to say “but it was a very exciting game”, doesn’t the penny drop that cricket is much much better when runs are tough to come by?

            • How is it any better to have moderate bowlers getting disproportionate success than moderate batsmen getting the same?
              White ball cricket is about batsmen, so of course the organisers want to encourage strokeplay as the lynchpin of their entertainment package. Pitches like the dead beat on Sunday only encourage a lottery and sabotage skill levels.
              Look at what it did to Root. He’s hardly an also ran. People come to see the likes of Roy, Bairstow, Stokes and Butler, above Plunkett, Woakes, Wood and Archer.
              I’m all for pitches that give bowlers some pace and spin to work with, but not at the expense of true bounce, where every attempt to force becomes a lottery.
              Red ball may be better on a bowlers wicket, as there’s no pressure to score runs, but white ball wickets need to encourage strokeplay.

          • Let’s have some stats to prove this one way or the other, before we start generalising.
            The other thing is what criteria do you use for close finish. Last over stuff, which is pretty rare on any surface, or anybody’s game till the last few overs, which generally provides enough entertainment value to keep punters coming back.

  • Being world champions on a technicality plus an umpiring error is much better than not being world champions.

    Controversial opinion, I know. But that’s what I think.

      • Would have been great to hear the reaction to that as Warner and Smith went up to collect their medals. Looking forward to being at the first ashes test this time, to help give them a hard time, not that we need much of an excuse.
        Felt sorry for Finch having to deal with things like that, as he seems a decent bloke.

  • I agree with all you say,James.
    I too was annoyed that the side getting most boundaries won the game.
    What is the logic in that?
    I wanted England to win of course but I felt for New Zealand and felt they deserved to win
    Would I have felt that way had Australia been our opponents?
    I doubt it..

    • The logic is that the organisers of white ball cricket want runs and high scoring games not struggles on poor pitches against average bowling. Encouraging boundary hits is all part of this and something most of the players strive for anyway. It’s why punters are given ‘4’ and ‘6’ cards and not ‘wicket’ cards and why power plays restrict outfielders.
      I believe we deserved to win the tournament because we played the most entertaining cricket and ‘fortune favours the brave’. We also had the worst of the batting conditions yesterday and still came through. New Zealand played a largely negative game, their lop sided batting forcing them to defend low totals throughout. Without Williamson, who scored almost one third of their runs, and captained the side expertly, thoroughly deserving of his ‘Player of the Tournament’ award. they wouldn’t have come close to qualifying for the semis. This is not what being the best ‘team’ is about.

  • In the end, mightily relieved to get over the line. Something which English teams and sportsman historically find impossible to do in finals.

    Regarding the match itself, I thought it was a massive toss to win. I’m not sure it was a ‘Bold Decision’ it was bat or bust for NZ and the coin landed in their favour. Their best chance of winning was to put a score on the board and strangle the English stroke makers, which they did to great effect.

    It was a pitch tailor made for Root to make 80 off 120 and hold up an end whilst others came in and stroked 30’s/40’s. Sadly he had his worst innings in an England shirt I can remember. Fortunately I don’t think any other international team has a batsman of Butler’s quality sitting down at 6 and that’s what told in the end.

    At a certain point I’d accepted defeat with the consolation that “At least it wasn’t India or Australia” but then the crazy-last over…

    The ‘overthrow 6’ was a freak and beyond the control of NZ/ENG or the umpires out in the middle. Another of sport’s ‘what if’ moments but Maradona’s ‘Hand Of God’ it certainly was not.

    All of this would have been elementary of course if Trent Boult had taken that catch. By modern standards it was comfortable and in the context of the match a huge error.

    I suppose The ICC ‘The Rule Makers’ are an easier more satisfactory target to direct anger (not sure why anyone’s angry) towards but surely England needing 21 off 8 balls and Stokes back in the hutch would’ve been too much.

    Re: deciding the match by wickets – I suspect if this rule was in place prior to the toss Stokes and Butler would have paced their innings differently and lower order wickets were wilfully sacrificed to rotate strike or pinch an extra run.

    It could’ve been decided on Head To Head over the championship, position in the table or the beloved Net Run Rate. I don’t see how that matters now though. That said I wasn’t sure Archer’s first ball of the super over was wide but again it doesn’t matter.

    A combination or Stoke’s grit and luck at exactly the right moment decided it in England’s favour but come on, now’s not the time to wallow in introspection and bemoan the running of English Cricket in our finest hour!

    No team deserved to lose, not least the superb NZ, the team we owe our whole ODI philosophy to. As you say James if it were India or The Aussie’s we wouldn’t give a full toss but NZ seem like good blokes who play the game the right way.

    Gracious yes, sympathies with NZ, yes, apologetic yes!!, hollow, certainly not! ENGLAND ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS!

    • Great comment :-)

      For what it’s worth I still think NZ’s best chance to win might have been to bowl first and knock England over in the first hour. I would’ve seen this as an attacking move i.e. let your big strength (Boult, Ferguson and Henry) win you the game first up. England would’ve certainly been vulnerable. Remember when we were reduced to 20-6 against SA not long ago at Lord’s?

      • Thanks for the reply :)

        I just think looking at the way the tournament had gone and the SF with India in particular, NZ were always more comfortable batting first.

        I think our new World Champions are still capable of 20-6 batting first or second – their due one soon let’s hope it’s not during the Ashes…

      • It’s a lot easier to appear like ‘good blokes who play the game in the right way’ when you don’t really perceive them as a threat to your status. They clearly have massive issues with their batting.
        After what we’ve achieved in the last 4 years I can’t believe you can still see us a 20-6 side. I don’t believe any other team in the world in yesterday’s conditions could have recovered from losing their top 4 for 80 to win. As long as Stokes and Butler were there I felt pretty confident we would. It just shows how many match winners we have compared to other sides.
        I agree New Zealand are better equipped for batting first, as chasing usually requires quick runs under pressure and their 2 mainstays, Williamson and Taylor, are accumulators not hitters.

  • James when you you say you felt great that England are World Champion- how can we tell? I fight it baffling and depressing that so many joyless contributors emphasise the negatives or look to criticise. The reason we should love sport is that we never know what will happen. Yesterday was fantastic. Yes England was lucky but all champions need luck. This was the culmination of 4 years of excellent white ball cricket. If you cannot enjoy yesterday achievement then there is no hope. Remember 2015 and all the competitions before. Rejoice!

    • I loved the semi final. We crushed Australia and played brilliant cricket. That was pure joy for me. But I didn’t want to win the final because of a fluke or umpires getting a decision wrong.

      It feels great to be world champions but the final will always have a caveat attached to it in my book. I’d feel exactly the same way if England won a football world cup final despite getting outplayed, and only scored thanks to a cruel deflection or a contentious penalty decision in injury time.

  • A thorough and balanced analysis of the final and the extent to which England deserved to win. I agree with most of it. England have become consistently the best 50-over side in world cricket, with several world-class players and few weaknesses. To that extent they are worthy champions.

    Taking the final in isolation, they were more than lucky. On the day their win was undeserved. Rules are rules, and no blame can be attached to Stokes for the deflection which resulted in four runs. But it was wrong and unjust on every level. It was the equivalent of a football player scoring a goal from a throw in conceded by his opponent to allow a player to receive treatment. Even in the more cut-throat environment of professional football, a manager would have instructed his players to stand aside to allow the opposition to walk the ball into the net from the resulting kick-off (it happened very recently: Leeds v Villa). Stokes could, should have been advised to play the next ball back to the bowler to wipe out the advantage that the umpires were powerless to redress once the ball had reached the boundary.

    The ‘super-over’ was an exciting way to finish the match, but again the rules seemed strange and arbitrary. Using football again as an analogy, if the match is drawn and goes to penalties, teams take five each then continue to take them in sudden death until there is a clear winner. They don’t stop if neither team is ahead after five and then go back and count who had most corners during the match. In the extremely unlikely event of a tied super-over, there should be another.

    Having said all of that, leaving the outcome aside the match was a fantastic advertisement for cricket and will hopefully inspire the next generation. One word of caution, though: the last time there was so much euphoria and appetite was after the Ashes of 2005. As a direct result of that interest Sky threw money at the ECB which they could not, or rather chose not to, refuse. That led to no live free-to-air cricket for the next fourteen years, which in turn prevented the game getting the exposure that it needed. Leaving aside the Hundred, which we can all agree is a mistake of monumental proportion, how do the ECB propose to respond to the renewed appetite for the traditional forms of the game generated by the world cup and England’s success? Will they double down on squeezing even more money from Sky, or will they recognise the need to promote Test and 50-over cricket and encourage people to play and watch it by making it accessible free to air? A nation waits with baited breath.

  • Good to see fair-minded supporters acknowledging the victory was illegitimate after England were erroneously gifted an extra run in the final over.

  • You can argue the ifs and buts and sometimes inexplicable rules of cricket until the cows come home. But just because unexpected things happen it doesn’t necessarily mean something else may or may not of happened because of it: cricket ebbs and flows with the tide which makes it so fascinating and this was old fashioned cricket at its best to boot. Until the end which became a bit hollow for me because of the sillyT20 style super over making the game into a 51 over a side, and then a boundary countback to somehow justify that the winner was the one who scored the most. But look not to split hairs, a fabulous game regardless; but 241/8 to me beats 241 all out whatever way you look at it.

  • What a game of cricket. It has bowlers beating the bat, movement, runs and plenty of wickets. Batsmen couldn’t just slog which was nice to see and it meant captains, blowers and batters had to use their heads which is also,good to see.

    FTA was a great addition and being able to watch such a close game, where no one could see who could win until ..well.. literally the last balls of the game and then super over is exactly what will get new people into the sport.

    This ECB mantra about people being attactee by Runs is false, drama, excitement, nerves mad tight games are what hook people, and it’s what gets them wanting to be involved. 2005 ashes had this is spades and it’s why people who either barely followed or had never followed the game suddenly wanted to.

    One girl who has never watched j text with about 3 overs to go ‘you really should watch this ‘ tuned in and even when having no idea of the laws txt back post game ‘how exciting, that was very emotional. I can see why you love cricket’… now that response to me speaks volumes .. total neutral being excited , getting nervous as they don’t kmow how the result will be and saying they can see why peoooe love it …

    That is what will hopefully have inspired people to play like 2005 .. a flat track slog fest where one side scoring too many simply makes it predictable wouldn’t ever have the same effect.

    England.. still the best ODI side going due to playing mainly on flat roads and they are great hitters . However, massive luck all tournament for Bairstow (hw many inside chops miss his stumps ) and massive luck this game..but but.. stokes and buttler were top,draw, batted really well and showed that adaptability required.

    Moving ball was grest fun to watch as it made Roy and Bairstow look like mugs (expected) but once that stopped, it was easier to bat on a sit should be

    Those extra runs at the end.. freak of luck and just adds to the drama. Pure chance and chance is golden in sport as it helps create randomness which adds to the game.

    All in all, tournament wasn’t great as most games were one sided and predictable due to one side just out biffing but the final as it was, on FTA means it will hopefully have a 2005 effect and boy does Cricket need it

    • How long had this girl been watching for. If she’d been there at the start she’d have fallen asleep during the New Zealand innings. Over an hour without a serious shot. Where are these runs that were supposed to be scored. I don’t call 240 anything to brag about, and please stop crediting the lottery pitch with the close finish. Randomness does not add to the game for the players when it’s there pretty much every ball. Stokes may have proved effective in the end but it was about the ugliest innings I’ve ever seen him play, as he struggled to time anything against mostly county standard bowling. That’s not great entertainment. How many finishes will you get like that on any surface? I call it drama by default, whatever the result.

      • Better than a one sided slog fest like the last World Cup final.. that wouldn’t inspire anyone into the game

        • We’ll have to agree to differ on that. Judging white ball by red ball standards doesn’t work for me. It’s a different game with different objectives as far as the organisers go. It’s just as skilful in its way and easy to pass off as substandard, because many of its top players struggle at test level. However the same can be said the other way round, which is why Strauss and Morgan reorganised our pre 2015 strategy of shoeing in test players to ODI’s, as a priority.
          Don’t know where you get the idea that all ‘slogfests’ are all one sided. For me the best game of this tournament from start to finish was South Africa v Australia, where both sides made over 300 on an Old Trafford pitch with even bounce and pace, allowing the ball to come onto the bat with plenty of attractive strokeplay from both sides. A great cricket wicket for ODI’s which produced quality far in excess of the final.

    • There’s plenty of unsavoury characters with knighthoods. Look at all the dodgy businessmen who get there by default, like Sugar. It’s about who you know and what your profile is. It’s becoming a celebrity thing, like so much today.

  • I have read with interest the various comments on the pitches in this WC, but would like to add one thing. We should give credit to the ICC (words I never thought I would say about that rival to FIFA and the IOC!) for producing pitches with some balance between bat and ball. It was the ICC (not the locals) who oversaw the pitches so they get the credit. And it was good to see something other than the 400 run ‘roads’ all to common in white ball.

    Now all we need is for them to increase the minimum boundary size (65m?), set a minimum water content for bats (10% instead of the 5% common in this form?) and insist on balls which will swing (and, to be fair, the new kookaburra seems much better in that department).

    • I don’t think the general standard of pitches had much to do with the administrators, more the June rain, which meant the groundsmen couldn’t get out to prepare the pitches properly. By that I don’t mean ‘roads’ but surfaces with even bounce and a bit of pace, so the ball comes onto the bat. A good cricket wicket. When you get that you get matches like South Africa v Australia where 300+ becomes eminently chasable, allowing both sides plenty of opportunity to showcase their talents. For my money that was the game of the tournament, with more drama leading up to the final over than the much vaunted final itself.


copywriter copywriting