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Was World Cup Final a fluke?
Mon. Oct 14, 2019 01:33 PM

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 ended in the most dramatic way possible. The England cricket team won their first World Cup in the twelfth edition of the global tournament and grabbed what was considered to be their best opportunity to win. Here we have a look at why their success in the tournament cannot be considered a fluke, but the World Cup Final can be.

It was thought to be their best chance for a few reasons. They were hosting the event, their ODI side had become a world-beater, everyone in their batting order was in great form, are some of them. England suffered an embarrassing defeat in the 2015 World Cup where they could beat only minnows Afghanistan and Scotland. They were knocked out by Bangladesh.

This made the Eoin Morgan-led side determined to be the best in the world. Their ODI numbers between World Cup 2015 and World Cup 2019 are just brilliant. In 88 ODIs, they won 58 and lost just 23. They had significantly strong numbers against Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and West Indies.

The reason for their success was their batting strength. Morgan had revamped the side and picked as many hard hitters and aggressive players as he could. Jason Roy and Alex Hales had cemented their place in the squad on the back of a brilliant run of forms during that period. Unfortunately, Hales could not be selected for reasons outside cricket. Even then, their batting line-up was so strong that they had a couple of more options to grab the opener’s spot.

They went with Jonny Bairstow and that became a masterstroke. Bairstow and Roy combined to make 975 runs in the tournament. Their number 3, Joe Root, was the highest run-getter for them in the competition with 556 runs in 11 innings. It was Ben Stokes, who was their savior, scoring 465 runs in 10 innings.

They managed to blow out the unbeaten Indian side, and then the Australian side in the semi-finals with utmost ease and that was the highlight of their performance in the tournament. By the time they reached the finals, England was predicted to be the winner by almost everybody who predicted according to form and dominance. Taking things up to here into consideration, their success in the tournament cannot be called a fluke.

However, the regular England side just did not turn up on the day of the Final. The Kiwis always depended on a couple of different batsmen every match to raise their hand up and give them a push. It happened on the day of the Final as well. Henry Nicholls (55) and Tom Latham (47) anchored the innings while the rest of the Top 5 batsmen got into double figures. It was the usual business for the Black Caps.

On the contrary, the aggressive English openers scored a combined total of 53 runs in 75 balls. Their top run-getter Joe Root and skipper Eoin Morgan got stuck and added 16 runs off 52 balls to the total. Buttler played well and scored 59 runs off 60 balls supporting Stokes well.

The next 5 batsmen could manage only 12 runs off 15 balls. They needed heroic innings from ‘Lord’ Ben Stokes, as they call him now, to level the scores with the Kiwis. You don’t get such an innings of 84 off 98 balls on the day of the World Cup Final. The overthrow that went for 6 runs was just the stars aligning for them. The Super Over followed. Once again it was Stokes and Buttler who got them the 15 runs. They somehow managed to tie the Super Over too, and what went in their favor was a rule made by the ICC which was hardly ever looked into before and hardly will ever be needed again - the team with more boundaries will win in case of a Super Over tie. This is like all the stars in the galaxy aligning just for England to win their first-ever World Cup. These types of run-chases can never be made again and that is why it can be called a fluke.

However, the English players could not reflect the same form in the Test series that followed. They tied the Ashes series 2-2 and could not manage to win back the urn at home for the first time in 18 years. Their below-par performance reflected on the World Test Championship points table as they are left reeling at the fifth position.

For the fans who engage in the brilliant Dream11 prediction and team-making, it is easy to select England players in the ODI format, but tough to pick in the Test format.  The England team will be hoping to rise up in the long format too, in their tour to New Zealand, that starts close to 3 weeks from now.


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