England's Dramatic Victory: A Freak Deflection and a Foot on the Rope in the Most Chaotic World Cup Final

It was Archer bowling to Guptill, and just two runs needed. Guptill was determined to push for those two, and the throw had to be accurate to the keeper’s end. He’s got it! England has clinched the World Cup victory by the slimmest of margins, by the absolute thinnest of threads. Jubilation for England, but pure agony for New Zealand.”

This iconic piece of commentary by Ian Smith will forever be etched in cricket history. Yet, for all the brilliance of Smith’s words, it merely encapsulates a fraction of the drama, almost bordering on chaos, that unfolded during that white-ball final.

Since that surreal day at Lord’s in July 2019, the narrative surrounding England’s inaugural ODI World Cup triumph has been neatly packaged as the logical culmination of a well-planned journey that began when Eoin Morgan assumed the captaincy in 2014. While this narrative is mostly accurate, it conveniently overlooks incidents like a freak bat deflection, a foot brushing the boundary rope, and a pivotal regulation that has since been altered for subsequent World Cups.

And let’s not forget the super over, the last-ball run-out, and the unforgettable Ben Stokes. As England and New Zealand prepare to embark on a new chapter in India, Mirror Sport revisits that fateful day, a day marked by both sublime brilliance and utter madness.

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Boult’s Costly Misstep

In pursuit of what initially seemed like a modest target of 241 at the hallowed Lord’s ground, England found themselves floundering at 220-7 with just nine balls remaining. When Ben Stokes aimed to dispatch a Jimmy Neesham delivery to the boundary, a nation collectively held its breath as the ball seemed destined for the safe hands of Trent Boult patrolling the boundary. Indeed, Boult took the catch comfortably, but for a brief moment, he lost track of the boundary rope.

The first step back was acceptable, but the second step proved disastrous as Boult inadvertently stepped on the boundary marker before belatedly releasing the ball to Martin Guptill nearby. Guptill promptly signaled six, albeit with a tinge of despair, while Stokes went on to compile an unbeaten 84 from 98 deliveries, almost single-handedly forcing a super over.

To say Boult’s miscalculation proved costly would be a colossal understatement.

A Divine Deflection

If Boult’s error was preventable, there was no way he could have foreseen the turn of events that followed in the final overs. Still needing nine runs from the last three deliveries, Stokes and Adil Rashid desperately scrambled for two runs after the all-rounder failed to find the boundary he so desperately needed. As they lunged to make their ground, Stokes dove at the keeper’s end, completely unaware of Guptill’s throw hurtling towards his outstretched bat.

What transpired next could only be described as divine intervention, a moment of sheer serendipity that would forever be etched in England’s sporting history. The ball kissed the edge of Stokes’ bat and ricocheted off at breakneck speed, racing to the boundary. It invoked one of cricket’s most obscure and rarely applied laws, awarding the hosts six runs.

The madness didn’t end there, as the final deliveries produced two singles and two run-outs. Had Guptill’s throw veered just a few centimeters to either side, the Black Caps would have emerged victorious by four runs. Instead, the result was a tie.

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Buttler Seals England’s Fate

Fast forward to the super over, where the tension was at its peak. England and New Zealand both managed to score 15 runs each in their allotted six balls. The crowd held its breath, unsure of how the winner would be determined. As it turned out, it came down to a boundary count-back rule.

The famous moment that sealed England’s fate was when Jos Buttler swiftly whipped the bails off the stumps after Jason Roy’s pinpoint throw. England had more boundaries in the match, securing them the World Cup title in an unforgettable fashion.

Since that dramatic day, the ICC has made changes to their rules. They have eliminated the boundary count-back rule, opting for a repeat of the super over in case of a tie until a clear winner emerges.

The 2019 Cricket World Cup final will forever be remembered as one of the greatest spectacles in the history of the sport, a match where destiny danced on the edge, and England emerged as the champions by the narrowest of margins.

Reference:

https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/cricket/new-zealand-england-world-cup-31102998

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