Ben Stokes said he doubts “there will ever be a better game in cricket history” than the remarkable contest that saw England pip New Zealand to Cricket World Cup glory.
An extraordinary final at Lord’s was eventually decided following a Super Over, with the tournament hosts sealing victory courtesy of their higher boundary count.
Eoin Morgan’s side initially matched the Black Caps’ total of 241 in 50 overs as Stokes contributed an invaluable 84 not out, before both sides scored 15 runs in the subsequent one-over shoot-out, Martin Guptill’s run out handing England victory.
“I’m lost for words to be honest, all the hard work to get us where we are today, this is what we aspire to be and we managed to come here and do it,” said Stokes, who also batted alongside Jos Buttler in the Super Over before Jofra Archer just about saw England home with the ball.
“I don’t think there’ll ever be a better game in cricket history than that.”
— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) July 14, 2019
England’s triumph owed much to a remarkable piece of good fortune towards the end of their chase, which saw Stokes – who had smashed Trent Boult’s previous delivery for a maximum – claim six more as he dived to complete a second run and inadvertently deflected the ball to the boundary.
“I apologised to Kane [Williamson, New Zealand’s captain] countless times about that, it’s not exactly how you want to do that,” added Stokes. “I said to Kane I’ll be apologising for that for the rest of my life.
“It’s written in the stars when that kind of stuff happens.”
Stokes was famously on the receiving end of late drama when England lost the 2016 World Twenty20 final to West Indies, the all-rounder taken for four successive sixes by Carlos Brathwaite in a last over that began with 19 needed for victory.
“I definitely wasn’t going to bowl it [the Super Over] after last time,” joked Stokes, who went on to hail Archer’s nerve at the death.
“Jofra Archer, I backed him all the way, the talent he’s got is incredible and he’s showed up on the world stage and shown how good he is.”