Epic final defines a triumphant World Cup – will it spark a cricket revival? | Vic Marks

England have the spoils, to New Zealand goes the glory, and the nation has a chance to fall back in love with cricket again

It is a phrase that is usually painfully glib or laden with irony but for once it may be appropriate: perhaps cricket really was the winner. The audience beyond, thankfully enlarged, as well as those crammed into every nook and cranny of Lord’s, watched a melodrama that left everyone gasping. Spectators eventually filed out of the old ground stunned by what they had just witnessed, enthralled and exhausted.

The last hour at Lord’s was complicated, yet there seemed to be women and children present who found it utterly captivating. The result may not have been just but that is often the nature of sport. The ricochet from Ben Stokes’s bat in the final over of the longer match was a freak occurrence, a deus ex machina that no self-respecting playwright would dare to introduce. Never have I seen that happen with the game on a knife-edge. Without those four extra runs England would have needed seven to win, six to tie, from two balls: not impossible, but not very likely.

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