England’s World Cup Nail-Biter Might Be the Greatest Cricket Match Ever

England’s World Cup Nail-Biter Might Be the Greatest Cricket Match Ever

Martin Guptill hit the ball far enough to get one run, but New Zealand’s desperate bid for a second came up a foot or two short.

“And that, ladies, is good night; cricket has nothing left to offer and will now cease to exist as a sport,” The Guardian wrote. “That is the most amazing game I have ever seen in my life.”

A neutral observer, The Sydney Morning Herald, called it “one of the most dramatic clashes in cricket history.”

“A ridiculous match,” Buttler told the BBC.

“I think probably like a lot of New Zealanders I’m still feeling quite traumatized by that match,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Radio New Zealand. (Like England, New Zealand was looking for its first World Cup.)

There was controversy as well, as some experts on cricket’s complicated and arcane rules claimed England should have gotten only five runs, not six, on the bizarre ball-hits-bat play. In a match where every run really counted, that could have been a game changer. (England’s soccer World Cup triumph is tainted to some because the team’s first extra time goal is often thought to have not crossed the goal line.)

England invented soccer, rugby and cricket, but with only a single men’s World Cup in each sport, it has seemingly underachieved internationally. (England’s women have four World Cups in cricket and two in rugby.) This has pushed some English sports fans into a defensive “we’re going to lose, as usual” attitude, which can make triumphs like the one on Sunday unusually sweet.

Though it just won the World Cup, England will soon play in a match even more venerable and important: the Ashes, a match played every two years with Australia in the longer, more traditional five-day format, starting Aug. 1. England lost comprehensively in the last Ashes series, but was without Stokes, who was dropped from the team after his involvement in a brawl in Bristol. But off his match-high 84 runs in the World Cup triumph, he could be the difference maker.

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