How an overthrow won the maiden World Cup title for England

Needing nine runs off three balls, all the supernatural forces were in play. When all looked gone after a titanic struggle, came that stroke of luck.

Published: 15th July 2019 03:01 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th July 2019 03:14 PM   |  A+A-

Ben Stokes dives to complete a run. (Photo | AP)

By Online Desk

LONDON: England had luck on their part as they defeated New Zealand to lift their maiden World Cup trophy. Here's how a controversial overthrow helped England tie the match and eventually win it on boundary count after the Super Over also ended in a tie.

Needing 15 runs off the last over, Ben Stokes played two dot balls. The equation changed to 15 from four balls before Stokes smashed Boult into the stands. The crowd could breathe a little but it wasn't over yet.

Needing nine runs off three balls, all the supernatural forces were in play. When all looked gone after a titanic struggle, came that stroke of luck.

England would have needed seven from two balls had a throw from the deep not deflected off Stokes’s bat and run all the way to the boundary. Rules do permit that if it happens unintentionally and in this case, Stokes didn’t do it on purpose.

Ben Stokes apologised after getting six runs via overthrows that deflected off his bat | AP

The equation came down to three from two balls. It was Stokes’ luck, England’s and of everybody present that it turned the 12th World Cup final into the most thrilling one-day match ever. Of course, the drama was not over and concluded with the first-ever Super Over in the history of the competition, which added to what all was going around.

There were extraordinary scenes. Everybody was shaking with excitement and disbelief. Hands trembled in the press box while typing. Jaws fell off.

“What have we witnessed? Is it real?” was the common refrain. It wasn’t. Not by any of the usual parameters followed on a cricket field. This was out of the books of spirits, fairies and unicorns. How could it be real! It kept going on and on.

IN PICS | England clinch thrilling finale to lift maiden World Cup title

Even in the last 12 deliveries of the match, the Super Over, nobody knew what was going to happen because till the last piece of action, everything was open.

Not that what was happening before the closing stages was not exciting enough. Wickets tumbling, run rate climbing, diving catches and fortunes fluctuating --- it had everything.

If New Zealand looked good at one stage, England came back through the partnership between Stokes and Jos Buttler. And then New Zealand seemed to have nosed ahead again. Just as it seemed that they had it wrapped up, that deflection brought England back. Spooky? What else!

MCC members celebrate after England's Ben Stokes got a boundary from overthrows | AP

It was not possible for anyone to keep calm. Beyond imagination it was, but the throws had to be accurate and hands couldn’t tremble while doing that. Jason Roy showed it in the end, with a hurl from deep mid-wicket which ran out Martin Guptill to force the second tie of the match. It was an extraordinary display of nerves of steel. If there had to be an unsung hero of the match, Roy it had to be. A fumble, throw a few inches wide, and the Cup would have travelled to New Zealand.

It was difficult to see and believe, forget describing it in words. Fittingly in an uncanny way, it happened in a place which has seen a lot. The spirits of all those tales were present on Sunday. They came, they saw and they conquered. That England won was just incidental. 

India Matters


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