England hosted the ICC 2019 Cricket World Cup and become the third team, after India (2011) and Australia (2015) to win the coveted trophy in their own den. It was also their first-ever men's 50-over World Cup win.
Eoin Morgan's men defeated New Zealand in the summit clash, regarded as possibly the most thrilling match ever played in the history of ODI cricket. However, the home side had to go through a lot of ups and downs in the league stage before making it to the knockouts and eventually creating history.
2019 Cricket World Cup: England's journey to the trophy
It all started with the match between England and South Africa in the tournament opener. The hosts, thanks to Ben Stokes’ all-round brilliance, brushed aside the Proteas challenge with a dominating 104-run win.
But the first hiccup in their campaign came with a shocking defeat at the hands of Pakistan in a high-scoring encounter in their second match. England failed to chase down 349 runs and fell short by 14 runs.
England’s third challenge was Bangladesh and they comfortably eased past the Asian side with a 106-run win. Jason Roy starred with a 153-run knock while the bowlers did their job perfectly to script a win.
After a couple more easy outings against West Indies and Afghanistan, the hosts were well on their way to making it to the semi-finals.
However, there came Sri Lanka who stunned Morgan and his men to defend a modest total of 232. Sri Lanka had only registered one win before the clash, and Afghanistan and the defeat against them proved to be a major dent in England’s confidence.
They went down to arch-rivals Australia at Lord’s by 64 runs in the next game., and were in danger of missing out on the semifinal with their last two matches against title favourites India and New Zealand.
This is where their fearless attitude with the bat came to the fore. England batted first in both matches and came out victorious by 31 and 119 runs respectively. They made it to the semi-finals as the third-placed team behind India and Australia.
2019 Cricket World Cup England v Australia, semifinal
We were in Birmingham in the second semi-final between arch-rivals England and Australia. Clearly, five-time champions Australia were in the driver’s seat but this was England’s chance to avenge the earlier defeat and they did exactly the same.
Despite Steve Smith’s fighting 85, Australia posted only 223 runs and England gunned down the target without much fuss in the 33rd over itself, to mark their fourth appearance in an ODI World Cup final.
2019 Cricket World Cup England v New Zealand, final
July 14, 2019 – The date made it to the cricketing folklore as arguably the most thrilling ODI in the history of the sport was played. England and New Zealand both could make 241 runs in their 50-over innings.
Nine runs were needed off the last three balls of England's run chase when a throw from the fielder ricocheted off Ben Stokes' bat to the boundary to create even more drama. There was a run out on the last ball, and we went into the Super Over.
That was not all as both teams ended up scoring the same number of runs (15) in the one-over playoff as well but England were crowned the champions of the 2019 Cricket World Cup without actually winning the game, on the basis of hitting more boundaries in the match.
The rule has now been scrapped after widespread criticism post the mega event that saw England win the tournament because they had scored 26 boundaries in total as opposed to the Kiwis’ 17.
To England’s credit, despite all the criticism over the way they won their maiden 50-over World Cup, they deserved it thoroughly as well. Almost every player stepped up for the team when they needed them the most, and they were undeniably the strongest and well-rounded team on display.
England didn’t have a near-perfect World Cup campaign, just that they had different hero in every match. They changed their entire white-ball set up taking some tough calls post the 2015 World Cup debacle, when they failed to move past the first round, and the move worked wonders four years as England won their first title.
2019 Cricket World Cup: England's top performers
Root was the top run-scorer for England in the edition while the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Stokes and Roy smashed more than 400 runs each.
With the ball, Jofra Archer topped the charts for them with 20 wickets while Mark Wood (18 wickets) and Chris Woakes (16 wickets) played assisting role, at times main, consistently.