England beat New Zealand by the skin of their teeth in dramatic finale to win the Cricket World Cup

Theres a cliche in sport which says you couldnt write it.

Generally thats a fallacy: over thousands of games most situations have seen airtime.

But the fashion in which England won the Cricket World Cup was something unique.

It would be stretching the mind to conjure up the events which somehow came to pass in the final hour of Englands utterly extraordinary encounter with New Zealand at Lords.

There was the six which could, and perhaps should, have resulted in the wicket of only hope Ben Stokes, if not for a misstep from boundary fielder Trent Boult in the penultimate over.

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And a throw from the boundary, which could have resulted in the run-out of Stokes, but instead cannoned off the back of his bat and went for a crucial boundary in the final over.

And then there was a completed run-out from the final ball of the game which left the scores tied on 241 and brought a super over.

After all that: another tie, with 15 runs scored each, meaning it came down to another final ball run-out and – get this – the home team winning by the niche virtue of having scored 26 boundaries to their opponents 17.

“I dont think there will ever be a better game of cricket than that,” Stokes said after the match finally reached its conclusion. You cant argue.

Eoin Morgan lifts the trophy having led England on a remarkable four-year turnaround (Getty Images)

What a way for England to win a first World Cup: by the skin of their teeth, in the most dramatic way possible, in front of a packed crowd at the Home of Cricket and on screens all around the country thanks to Channel 4 carrying Skys coverage.

There have been plenty of watershed moments in English cricket, but this truly felt seismic, registering 10 on the richter scale of significance, topping the great earthquake precipitated by the 2005 Ashes.

Plot twists

The plot had twists throughout. A New Zealand first innings packed with ups and downs, which left an achievable but not straightforward total.

An England innings which stuttered, recovered through an 110-run partnership between Stokes and Jos Buttler, faltered when the latter was dismissed, looked hopeless when lower order wickets tumbled and was resurrected miraculously through some luck to set up a never-seen-before finale.

Every story needs a hero and here is where Stokes is so perfectly fitting, his character arc topping off an unforgettable day of theatre.

Stokess personal strife – drunken fight, team exclusion, court case – has given way in the last year to a new demeanour. A man-of-the-match performance in a World Cup final was his redemption.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Ben Stokes of England bats during the Final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between New Zealand and England at Lord's Cricket Ground on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Ben Stokes won the man of the match award for his brilliant innings (Getty Images)

Without his new outlook, defined by a cool head, tireless running and powerful ball-striking, his linchpin innings of 84 from 98 balls may never have happened – nor his eight runs from three balls in the super over.

Archer holds his nerve

Need more? How about a 24-year-old who wasnt in the squad – or even eligible to be so – two and a half months ago, bowling the highest-pressure over in English cricket history 72 days after his debut and iRead More – Source