England to meet fans at The Oval after winning Cricket World Cup in breathless final
England's cricket players will be waking up on Monday morning hoping that their success in the World Cup was not all just a dream.
Proving that it wasn't, the team will be heading to The Oval on Monday morning to meet with fans and schoolchildren, all eager to offer their congratulations following the breathless final against New Zealand which saw England make history by becoming the first men's team to lift the trophy.
England's chances of overhauling New Zealand's 241 for eight seemed to be forlorn but under the utmost pressure, Ben Stokes held his nerve to contribute an unbeaten 84 to leave the scores tied at the end of a dramatic 100 overs.
This forced a Super Over, a technocratic decider in a contest that proved impossible to settle any other way.
Despite showing clear signs of fatigue, Stokes returned to bat in a super over, putting on 15 alongside Jos Buttler.
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The victory would have been inconceivable without Stokes' efforts, with England captain Eoin Morgan in no doubt as to the significance of his talismanic all-rounder's contribution.
Morgan said: "To come through it is extraordinary. He's almost superhuman. He has really carried the team and our batting line-up.
"To bat with the lower order the way he did, I thought was incredible. He managed to deal with the emotion and atmosphere in an incredibly experienced manner.
"Hopefully everyone watching at home will try to be the next Ben Stokes."
Following his exertions with the bat, Stokes even had some wise words for Jofra Archer, who bowled in the Super Over, in the heat of battle.
The young paceman said: "Stokesy came over and told me, win or lose, today will not define me as a player."
Morgan attended the press conference with the World Cup trophy after leading England to their first global 50-over title, ending 44 years of disappointment in this tournament.
Morgan said: "This means absolutely everything. It's been an absolutely incredible journey. I still can't quite believe it, that's why I'm carrying it around as much as I can."
How did the drama unfold?
Both sides were locked on 241 after 100 overs of nerve-shredding tension that cast Stokes as the home side's hero of the hour.
That paved the way for a Super Over, a six-ball shoot-out that had only occurred 11 times in international history and never before at the World Cup - a rule explainer was even required on the big screens inside the home of cricket.
Even then the teams could not be separated, as both scored 15 off their six additional balls, Stokes and Jos Buttler hitting 15 off Trent Boult before Archer conceded 14 off his first five deliveries.
The Barbados-born bowler, the least experienced player on either side, held his nerve as Martin Guptill forced the ball into the off-side and came back for a second that would have taken the trophy.
Enter Jason Roy, who picked up cleanly despite unimaginable pressure and hurled a flat, decisive throw towards Buttler, who scattered the stumps as Guptill scrambled.
Tied once again, England was victorious by virtue of having hit the most boundaries in the original 50-over match.
In the end England’s 22 fours and two sixes proved the difference, besting the Black Caps’ tally of 14 and two but they are just numbers, and do scant justice to the emotional, occasionally controversial and endlessly replayable events that played out on this famous ground.
Rarely has the tension at this storied stadium reached such emphatic peaks and rarely has a winning team celebrated with such gusto, the game and all the prizes that go with it having seemingly disappeared from their grasp on several occasions.
After 44 years and 12 editions England finally lifted the trophy, Eoin Morgan’s side securing their legacy in front of 30,000 captivated fans, a mass gathering at Trafalgar Square and on television in homes up and down the country.
The national side were back on a free-to-air terrestrial platform for the first time since the halcyon days of 2005 and they did not miss their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to match the achievements of their female counterparts, who became world champions at the home of cricket two summers ago.
Any new fans who were enthralled by what they saw, and surely there were many, will need to be told they may never see its like again.
After being named player of the match, Stokes told Sky Sports: "Jos and I kept talking about controlling the run rate and not letting it get too far away from us. We knew if we were there close to the end then New Zealand would be under pressure.
"In that last over when the ball hit my bat and went for four, that's exactly what we asked for and I've already apologised countless times to Kane (Williamson) about that. It's not exactly how you want to do it but we'll take it.
"There was no chance I wasn't going to be there at the end. It's moments like that you live for as a professional cricketer and the new kid on the block Jofra Archer, I backed him all the way. The talent he's got is incredible and he's showed it on the world stage."