England captain Eoin Morgan says he “never allowed” himself to imagine lifting the World Cup before his side’s astonishing victory over New Zealand in a thrilling final at Lord’s.
The game went to a super over after both sides scored 241 from 50 overs.
“I’ve said incredible 50 times since lifting the trophy,” Morgan told Test Match Special.
“The planning, hard work, dedication, commitment and the little bit of luck really did get us over the line.”
Morgan said he was “very thankful” that – despite England’s three defeats in the group stage – “people believed because we believed”.
But he added: “I’d never allow myself to imagine winning the World Cup. Cynical me!”
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Ben Stokes, man of the match in the final, said: “So much hard work has gone in, this is what we aspire to be.
“I don’t think there will ever be a better game in cricket than that.
“There was no chance I wasn’t going to be there at the end. Those are the sorts of moments you live for as a professional cricketer.”
All-rounder Stokes scored 84 with grit and determination on a tricky pitch to anchor England, and his composure in both the final over and the super over helped claim a historic win.
Victory brought a sense of redemption for Stokes – in the World Twenty20 final four years ago he was hit for four sixes by Carlos Brathwaite as West Indies beat England in the final over.
Morgan described Stokes as “super human”, adding: “He really carried the team and our batting line-up.”
‘I encouraged them to laugh, smile and enjoy’
This was an astonishing day in front of a packed crowd, who stayed long after the final ball had been bowled.
In a see-sawing match, England slipped to 86-4 and struggled to find boundaries in the middle order.
But a 110-run partnership between Stokes and Jos Buttler dragged the hosts back into contention before a dramatic finale resulted in the scores being tied and England winning because they had scored more boundaries during the match.
When asked what he told his team as they huddled before the super over, Morgan said: “I encouraged them to smile, laugh and enjoy because it was such a ridiculous situation.
“It was a matter of trying to put smiles on the guys’ faces to release a bit of tension and they responded brilliantly to that.”
Victory means England’s men and women both hold 50-over world titles.
“I can’t believe what’s happened in the last hour,” bowler Chris Woakes told Test Match Special.
“I thought it was gone. I am lost for words. World champions, I can’t get my head around it.”
For England, this was the culmination of four years of completely overhauling their one-day game after they were humiliated in 2015.
The victory was the culmination of four years of work in completely overhauling their one-day game after humiliation in 2015, when they were knocked out in the group stage.
The Queen – head of state for both nations – said: “Prince Philip and I send our warmest congratulations to the England men’s cricket team after such a thrilling victory in today’s World Cup final.
“I also extend my commiserations to the runners-up New Zealand, who competed so admirably in today’s contest and throughout the tournament.”
‘In 10 years we’ll see kids playing cricket in the street’
“This is exactly what cricket needed,” ex-England captain Michael Vaughan said. “This is the moment that, in five, 10 years time, we’ll see kids playing cricket in the street [as a result].
“We’ve had great days in Test cricket – but this is another level. This is something I’ve never experienced.”
The game was watched by a sold out-crowd at Lord’s who lived every ball, and was also shown on free-to-air TV on Channel 4, as well as Sky.
“The best final I’ve ever seen, the best game I’ve ever seen,” said England all-rounder Moeen Ali.
“This has changed cricket in our country.”
‘Win or lose, today will not define me’ – reaction
England bowler Jofra Archer, who was entrusted with defending 15 runs in the super over: “‘Stokesy’ came over and told me, win or lose, today will not define me as a player.
“The boys did so well to give us 15, I am so grateful they gave us the opportunity to compete.”
England all-rounder Ben Stokes: “I don’t know what it is about finals that produce moments like that. It’s incredible. Amazing.
“I hope we have inspired people to want to do this in the future.”
England bowler Liam Plunkett: “It’s not sunk in – I’ve had a sip of champagne, which is my first drink for five months.
“Everyone got to watch the game on TV – I hope they get a buzz for cricket like the 2005 Ashes.”
England coach Trevor Bayliss: “These guys have put in so much hard work and it’s come to fruition. A lot of people behind the scenes have done a fantastic job and this feels fantastic.
“I tried to be as calm as I can but I was very nervous on the inside – let me tell you.”