LONDON (Reuters) - England captain Eoin Morgan said winning the World Cup for the first time by beating New Zealand in an extraordinary final at Lord’s on Sunday was a fitting reward for years of hard work by his players.
England, eliminated at the group stage after a dismal performance in the World Cup four years ago, won by virtue of hitting more boundaries after the match, and a Super Over, both ended in ties.
“The planning, the hard work and preparation and a little bit of luck today got us over the line – it’s been an incredible journey and it’s been phenomenal,” Morgan told a news conference.
“We find it hard to play on wickets like that and today was about getting over the line. Sport is tough at times,” Morgan added.
New Zealand made 241 for eight after winning the toss and England were in trouble when they slumped to 86 for four.
But a 110-run fifth-wicket partnership between Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler gave the hosts a chance, and Stokes went on to make 84 not out as England were dismissed for 241 off the final ball of their 50 overs.
Stokes and Buttler returned to score 15 in England’s Super Over before Jimmy Neesham and Martin Guptill made 15 for New Zealand, leaving England as the winners because they hit more boundaries in the match.
“There wasn’t a lot in that game,” Morgan said. “I’d like to commiserate with (New Zealand captain) Kane Williamson and his team. The fight they show is worth aspiring to, the example they set is commendable to all. It was a hard, hard game where people found it hard to score.
“We are delighted that we are lifting the trophy.”
England lost to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia in the group stage, putting their chances of reaching the semi-finals in jeopardy, but they beat India and New Zealand to make the last four before crushing Australia to get to the final.
“We had two must-win games and we scraped through and we continued it on to today,” Morgan said.
Morgan chose Jofra Archer to bowl the Super Over, a daunting task for the 24-year-old Barbados-born fast bowler who played his first one-day international for England in May.
“I told him to trust the process,” Morgan said. “It was uncharted territory for us and we just had to feel it individually. He is an unbelievably talented player.”
Archer started his Super Over with a wide before Neesham struck him for a huge six to leave the Black Caps needing seven runs from the last four balls.
But Archer conceded only six, with Guptill run out going for a second off the final delivery to hand England the trophy.
“To play in a super over after an extremely draining match takes a lot of energy and we just wanted to remain calm,” Morgan said.
“It’s been an extraordinary day, the most incredible game with nothing between the teams – the finest of margins,” Morgan added.
“We are going to celebrate as it’s deserved. We’ll worry about the next four years afterwards.”
Reporting by Mitch Phillips, Editing by Ed Osmond