Image: Unsplash; Marcus Wallis

Following England’s triumphant Cricket World Cup win, we look back over the key moments of tournament, from the group stage to the final.

The 2019 edition of the Cricket World Cup ended in spectacular fashion; England won their first world title in an exhilarating Super Over against New Zealand. A tournament that had largely not lived up to its billing, the final went down as one of the greatest sporting events of all-time.

In total, 48 matches took place over 6 weeks as 10 countries did battle around England and Wales. We look back at the highlights of this year’s tournament, from the early group stages through to the final match.

The group stage

In a new format, each of the 10 teams played each other once with the top four progressing into the semi-finals. With a slow start, after a record 4 matches were rained off, the World Cup sparked into life as the group stages reached their finale, with some nail-biting encounters.

Afghanistan impressed all but could not get the win they so desperately craved. Disappointing was the word to describe the campaigns of South Africa and the West Indies, as they fell well short. Bangladesh showed signs of brilliance and Shakib enjoyed a fantastic tournament with bat and ball.

Sri Lanka could count themselves unlucky as two of their matches were postponed, which could have seen them progress. Pakistan came agonisingly close after a slow start, but finished fifth behind New Zealand on net run rate. That left India at the top of the table with 15 points, losing just once along the way with Rohit Sharma hitting a record 5 centuries in the process.

Five-time winners Australia finished 2nd, losing just twice to with David Warner in scintillating form and Mitchell Starc as leading wicket taker. The last two spots were taken by England and New Zealand,who both had their wobbles but manage to front up when needed to reach the semi-finals.

The semi-finals

India played New Zealand in the first semi-final at Old Trafford. The match was played over two days due to rain, and was a low-scoring encounter on a slow pitch and in a tense atmosphere.

New Zealand posted 239 with captain Kane Williamson hitting 67, and Ross Taylor 74 as the other batsmen failed to find a rhythm. However, some masterful bowling from Matt Henry and Trent Boult left India reeling at 5-3 and 24-4. India recovered thanks to Pandya and Dhoni and a late 77 blast from Jadeja, but could not reach the target as they were bowled out on 221.

England hosted Australia in the second semi-final at ‘fortress’ Edgbaston, where England had not lost in 10 years. Some breath-taking bowling from Woakes and Archer removed Australia’s danger men early before Smith and Carey rebuilt to give Australia a total of 221. However, England’s aggressive opening pair of Roy and Bairstow gave England a fast start before they lost their first wicket on 124. Joe Root and Eoin Morgan took over to guide England to their fourth World Cup Final in style.

The final

In front of a full capacity crowd at Lord’s, the world was treated to one of the greatest sporting encounters of all-time. On a slow pitch New Zealand got off to a solid start but lost wickets at crucial moments. Nicholls (55) and Latham (47) top scored as New Zealand reached 241 from their 50 overs. England’s openers started quickly but both feel cheaply. At 86-4 England looked in trouble before Ben Stokes (85*) and Jos Buttler (59) powered England towards the total.

With 15 needed off the last over, a throw from the field ricocheted off Stokes’ diving bat to the boundary meaning England were awarded 6 runs. Stokes needed 2 off the last ball but could only manage 1. The match was heading to a super over, a first in World Cup history. England managed 15 off their superover and a huge six from Neesham meant New Zealand were in with a chance.

New Zealand needed 2 off the last ball knowing a draw would mean England would win on more boundaries. Guptill heaved a shot to mid-wicket but Roy threw to Buttler to remove the bails before Guptill made it back for two. England were cricket World Champions for the very first time in the most thrilling fashion.

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