Isn’t the aim to score more runs? England wins Cricket World Cup despite twice-tied final

Why did England win the Cricket World Cup final despite being level with New Zealand after the super over? Video: England win Cricket World Cup Final after dramatic super over (Pic: AP) (ABC News)  You couldn’t have written a better script  ABC Grandstand commentator Jim Maxwell described it as, “one of the most amazing finales to a game of international cricket that we have ever seen, probably the greatest finish in international cricket history”  England has claimed its maiden World Cup title in an extraordinary finale against New Zealand at Lord’s, a final that has already been described as the greatest of all time and thrilled the sporting world with a finish for the ages  As is befitting of a game that had everything, the real drama came in those final moments as England and New Zealand battled through 102 overs of cricket, only to end up level on scores not once, but twice, before England was awarded the title  We’ll unpack the main talking points from a frantic 15 minutes that decided the destination of this year’s World Cup The six External Link: CricketWorldCup:A final decided by a thousand fine margins    With wickets tumbling around him and England still needing 22 runs off nine balls, New Zealand-born Ben Stokes is, ironically, England’s last hope and appears hell-bent on hitting out in an attempt at glory  Stokes, England’s last recognised batsman and the man upon whose shoulders rested the hopes of a nation, gives himself room to swing at James Neesham’s delivery with a shot that flies to the midwicket boundary, straight down the throat of Trent Boult  Game over? Not quite. If Stokes had departed that would have been near enough it but, as Boult effects the catch, he steps backwards onto the padding surrounding the boundary  Had Boult been half a metre further away from the boundary, he would have taken a giant step towards celebrating a famous win for the Black Caps, but instead, that step was backwards and New Zealand still had it all to do  Instead of England being nine down with just Jofra Archer and Adil Rashid at the crease, it now needs 16 to win from eight   The other ‘six’ Three balls left in the final over. England has just two wickets remaining after Archer is comprehensively bowled for a duck by Neesham’s last ball  Stokes turns down two singles to avoid exposing Rashid’s somewhat-questionable tail-end batsmanship to Boult’s exquisite death bowling  After slamming the third ball of the over into the stands for six, Stokes needs nine to write himself into history  Boult thunders down a full toss that Stokes tickles away off his pads to deep mid-wicket to where Guptill — run-out hero of MS Dhoni in the semi-final — is ready to pounce  The throw arrows in towards the stumps … and deflects off the outstretched bat of Stokes and away to the boundary for four    So why is that six runs? England has already run two, so is credited the four additional runs as overthrows    Contests can be decided on fine margins and this is as fine as they get. Had the ball hit the bat at any other angle, it would have been unlikely that it would have then flown down the hill for four runs  Equally, there is little Stokes could do to avoid this. He was fully committed and had no idea that the ball was on its way to hit his bat, so could not even come close to being accused of obstructing the field, as he was in a 2015 ODI between England and Australia, also at Lord’s  Stokes, born and raised in Christchurch, told reporters after the game: “Playing against New Zealand is always a great event, they are a seriously good team and really good lads  “I said to [New Zealand captain] Kane Williamson, I’ll be apologising for that for the rest of my life “The first tie England is running for everything. Rashid is run out off the penultimate ball after chasing an unlikely second in an attempt to level the scores with a ball to go    With two required to win, Boult delivers a yorker that Stokes prods away to long on  Stokes and Mark Wood hare between the wickets to chase the elusive winning run, but Wood is easily run out and the scores are tied  So what happens now? England lost more wickets (all ten of them) compared to New Zealand’s eight, but the number of wickets lost does not come into consideration, as stipulated in Law 16 3.1. The two teams instead faced a winner-takes-all “super over” — an innovation incidentally introduced by Allen Stanford of West Indies-based Stanford 20:20 fame The second tie Video: Last super over in the Cricket World Cup final (Pic: Reuters) (ABC News)    So, to the super over  Teams can pick any three batsmen and one bowler to take part, with the team batting second in the match batting first in the super over    England has first crack as per tournament rules, with Stokes joined at the crease by Jos Buttler  The pair make a hugely credible 15 from their six deliveries off the bowling of Boult  New Zealand’s reply starts well as Archer opens with a marginal wide, before Jimmy Neesham plunders 13 off the next five, legal deliveries  Guptill on strike. Two required for victory. He clips Archer’s last ball to the leg side and frantically sets off for an unlikely two  The throw is a good one to the strikers end and Guptill is run out! Scores level again!  Countback controversy? So, all square again but it is the English celebrating wildly  Why? According to the rules set out in paragraph 13 in Appendix F of the ICC Laws concerning super overs, the winner of the game in the event of a tie is the team that scored more boundaries over the course of the match    New Zealand managed 14 fours and three sixes. England plundered 24 fours and two sixes, the high-octane approach favoured by Eoin Morgan’s men over the past four years since being humiliated by New Zealand in Wellington at the last World Cup  Is that fair? Perhaps not. On ABC’s Grandstand at Stumps, Ed Cowan said: “To me, it feels like there is no integrity in the result almost ” “It’s like the World Cup soccer final, 5-all in the penalty shoot-out, ‘oh actually, whoever had the most shots in the game actually wins this so we’re all going home now’  “Imagine playing another super over? Surely there has to be a winner on the day. Should another super over have taken place? That probably would have been fairer  But both teams knew the rules before a bowl was bowled, or least should have done, and England should not be denied its moment based on a technicality  Incidentally, if the number of boundaries was equal, the result would have come down to how many runs were scored on the final ball of each super over  England scored four. New Zealand scored one. Interestingly, in the semi-finals, had rain made play totally impossible, the team that finished higher in the final table would have progressed to the final  Apply the same logic here, then England — who thrashed New Zealand to the tune of 119 runs in the group stages — would have been crowned winners anyway   Contact Simon Smale

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