England Cricket World Cup Glory

 

It’s all Super Over Now

“It’s come to this. Here’s the last ball of the World Cup Final, Archer bowls it. It’s clipped away into the legside, they’re going to come back for the second, the throw comes into the wicket keeper’s end… He’s run out… is he? England think he’s run out. England are convinced he’s been run out…”

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GOT HIM! TV pictures confirm what the England players already knew. They had won the World Cup.

Just like that England won the World Cup in 2019. Jonathan Agnew had his Kenneth Wolstenholme & Ian Robertson moment. In the back of the commentary box all the English pundits dropped their façade of neutrality, à la Rob Andrew in 2003, and went wild as pandemonium broke out around Lord’s.
 
The noise was staggering. Especially if you are a regular at the old place. Often the only noise is a light snore while the collective catch up on a snooze post an overly beefy sandwich. How times have changed. To the fellow, who sat behind me requesting 300 people sit down so he could watch the Super Over, I am sorry but cricket, at that moment at least, just became a raucous celebration of life. Even at Lord’s. About time too some would say.
 
On the pitch the scenes were just as wild. Joffra Archer, in a fit of relief just ran and ran before diving onto the floor at the feet of nobody. The rest of the players sounded what could only be described as a carnal roar as the stumps were flattened by Joss Buttler. Nobody even cared who threw the ball in. Or that the batsman had yet to be officially given out.

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Joffra Archer celebrates

New Zealand Honour

Spare a thought for the Black Caps. From the moment, they went out to bat they were acutely aware of the number of runs they would need to defend if they were to win. They had the bowlers to do it, they really did. Some would argue they did enough. Jeremy Coney, the ex-NZ captain, even surmised in the TMS box that they ought really to share the World Cup. You couldn’t separate the teams after that.
 
Even taking into account the deflection off the bat and the sub section of the laws of the Super Over that signalled their defeat their remarkably composed captain, Kane Williamson, was able to stand tall and congratulate the opposition on not just a fine final but as well deserved winners following a standard bearing four years prior to the final. Such good sportsmanship is rare in professional sport and to summon up such magnanimity after the day he had had is rarer still.
 

England’s Cricketing Joy

What of England? Much has been spoken of the journey they had been on under Bayliss and Morgan. There is no need to rehash it here other than to say there is a genuine joy in the way that they play cricket. It is full of all the things we wish we could apply to real life. An unbridled happiness to go out and express yourself and do what you really, really love. To be able to entertain and give so many people such pleasure is a very rare thing. The team were given the mission to inspire and inspire they did. There’s a great clip of Jimmy Anderson on his Tailenders podcast discussing how he felt after the win. His response was that all he wanted to do was go out and have a bowl. 
 

The Bumpy Road of An England Fan

There were always going to be moments of difficulty. It was predicted on this blog as the tournament began. After all this is an England sporting team. We are a sporting nation battle hardened by disappointment and farce.
 
We know nothing is going to be easy or anything other than gut wrenchingly hard to watch at times. There were moments of implosion. Not least, the pre-tournament mess involving Alex Hales. Even that was dealt with brutal efficiency. The will they won’t they of Joffra Archer. Never ever any doubt. Certainly not in the mind of the softly spoken Trevor Bayliss.
 
Of course, we lost 3 times in the round robin format. We had to endure the nonsense between current player and ex-player in the press. Or two people from Yorkshire ‘just being Yorkies’. There was a genuinely poor performance against Sri Lanka. At that moment, it looked very much like England were going to do an England.
 
However, placed alongside 4 very, very good performances against the top 4 teams in the world and when only a win would do these incidents and defeats are inconsequential. Especially in the context of that annihilation of Australia in the semi-final. It was a consummate performance of outrageous skill and bravura rarely seen by a team from these isles. We don’t just do that. Except that we did.
 
Right up to that final ball of that final super over we were left hanging in a way that nobody could ever have predicted. Except as England fan we should have expected it. Previous English World Cup success has only been after extra time: 1966, 2003 and now add to that 2019. It was written in the stars that England would emerge victorious only after every finger nail had been devoured and most of the cushions in the country had been hidden behind.
 

Thank you!

Eoin Morgan, Johnny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joffra Archer, Mark Wood, James Vince & Moeen Ali. The squad players who ferried on drinks, spray, talcum powder, jokes and messages from the changing room. The sensible, unflappable Trevor Bayliss and his assistant coaches current and past. And to Andrew Strauss, the man who got all this going after that pitiful performance four years ago in the previous World Cup. We salute you! Do it again next time. Just without the stress.
 

The Ashes and Winter Tours

The small matter of the Ashes is up next. The Australians will of course be back for revenge. The first match is at Edgbaston and if they couldn’t cope with the noise from the Hollies Stand for 80 overs they’ll find it hard over a possible five days. Expect them to arrive at Lord’s 1-0 down.
 
As the Summer draws to close the joy of being an England Cricket fan will be found in the winter cricket tours ahead. England will travel to New Zealand to renew their battle of who plays the game in the best spirits. They’ll play 2 Test Matches and 5 T20s. There’ll be a brief respite before heading to South Africa for Christmas and New Year. After that it is onto Sri Lanka and India. The fun never stops.
 

And finally

“It’s come to this. Here’s the last ball of the World Cup Final, Archer bowls it. It’s clipped away into the legside, they’re going to come back for the second, the throw comes into the wicket keeper’s end… He’s run out… is he? England think he’s run out. England are convinced he’s been run out…”
 

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England’s captain Eoin Morgan lifts the World Cup trophy (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

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