Cricket World Cup final: 'They'll make a movie about that game'

9:48 am on 15 July 2019

By Matt Richens*

Opinion - The Black Caps' World Cup loss by the smallest possible margin - one that most of us didn't know existed - will be made into a movie, writes Matt Richens.

England Captain Eoin Morgan lifts the ICC Cricket World Cup trophy.

England Captain Eoin Morgan lifts the ICC Cricket World Cup trophy. Photo: Photosport

They'll make a movie about that game.

And it will be better than any fiction even the wackiest cricket writer could pen.

A tie followed by a Super-Over tie; a Barbadian and a Kiwi riding shotgun as England win the Cricket World Cup, at the home of cricket, by a rule even the biggest cricket nuffy had to look up.

The New Zealand players, who had been written off time and time again through the tournament and who were again given next to no show, lost by the smallest possible margin - a margin most of us didn't know existed - most boundaries hit in the match.

Both sides scored 241 from their 50 overs. New Zealand scored 241-8, England were all out for 241 in reply off their final ball while sprawling and falling short of what would have been the World Cup winning 242nd run.

Move to a Super Over. England score 15. Probably too many. Surely too many. Surely.

New Zealand pick Jimmy Neesham, who six months ago wasn't even in the reckoning to be in most people's team, and the horribly out of form Martin Guptill to bat.

They score 14 from the first five balls and need two from the final ball of a 48-match tournament. Guptill squirts a ball deep on the legside, but a helpless dive by the much maligned Guptill wasn't enough to complete the second run leaving the Black Caps on 15, too.

England win their first World Cup courtesy of the fact they hit more boundaries in the game.


So close for New Zealand. A matter of inches in fact, on a number of occasions. But judging by the looks on the Kiwi players' faces, it might as well have been miles.

New Zealand fans will pinpoint a Trent Boult speccy on the boundary where twinkle-toed Trenty just squashed the boundary marker a split second before lobbing the ball to Guptill as a crucial match-turning moment.

Or when a throw from the boundary in the last over deflected off Ben Stokes' bat and dribbled down to the vacant fine leg boundary for a two plus four six.

Kane Williamson after the World Cup loss.

Kane Williamson after the World Cup loss. Photo: Photosport

A pessimist will say New Zealand had a number of opportunities to win the game, an optimist will argue they did exceptionally well to stay in the fight, though a realist will just say that was the best cricket game ever played.

With what was on the line, the venue, the drama, the fact neither team had won a World Cup and the inventors of the game finally get to lift the trophy, it may remain the best game ever played for a long, long time.

Christchurch's Stokes was named Man of the Match. Of course he was. His career was nearly ended because of a late-night altercation, but his 84 not out for his adopted country truly was a match-winning knock. More drama.

You couldn't write the stuff and if you did it would get thrown back on your desk for being too far fetched.

Earlier in the night the underdog Kiwis fought their way to 241-8. On one hand it was a good score, but it still felt 20-runs light.

They batted well throughout, but were unable to launch in the last 10 overs only managing to add another 62 runs.

It just didn't feel enough, but if any team could defend it, that team was New Zealand.

England carried the momentum through the lunch break, but it was always going to come down to New Zealand's bowlers. And they delivered. England were 86-4 nearing the halfway mark before Stokes and Jos Buttler wrestled their team back into the contest.

It was again clever cricket, clever bowling and clever captaincy that allowed New Zealand to ever so nearly defend what in a normal game would have been a sub-par total.

Like they did when they beat India in the semifinal, New Zealand just played well. Kane Williamson was superb as a skipper, though Ross Taylor's influence was clearly there too.

Unlike India the other day, England seemed to have the game under control for much longer, making the comeback at the death all the more special for New Zealand.

Williamson's ability to squeeze every drop of ability out of a squad who, with the greatest of respect, is not the most talented at the tournament, was truly extraordinary and that ability played a major role in the Kiwi skipper being named Player of the Tournament.

To be literally inches away from being World Champions will be hard to stomach for the players, though they should be immensely proud of their achievements and the fact they defied so many predictions to get to where they did.

They'll make movies about that game, though few of us will ever forget the real thing.

* Matt Richens has been a sports writer for 13 years. He's such a cricket geek he once watched an entire Ashes test in his whites.

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