England 'buzzing' after special performance
You dream of these things. Your bowlers pull back a side from 89 for 1 in 10 overs to keep them down to 153, and your opener hits four fours in the first over. He goes on to score 78 off 44 balls, and by the time he gets out you are left needing 44 runs at under a run a ball. The nerves of chasing in a big game are knocked straight out of the window. Jason Roy did just that with his uncluttered approach on a pitch he could trust. New Zealand had pulled back sides earlier in the tournament, but they couldn't recover from the Roy assault.
This was Roy's first Twenty20 international fifty, but he brings with him an impressive body of work, a career strike rate of 141.46 in all Twenty20 cricket, including two centuries. England have similarly flown under the radar a bit, and Roy was pretty pleased the detractors had been proven wrong. "We're that sort of a side," Roy said. "We've had a lot of negative feedback from a few people and to be in a World cup final now has hopefully got a few people on our side. There's been a huge amount of support all tournament from back home and around the world so thanks to all those people."
This comeback in the tournament is all the sweeter after the way they had been stream-rolled by a Chris Gayle century in their first match. "It's pretty cool," Roy said. "After the first game it was pretty far away. It's something that we're really buzzing for. It's going to be an incredible experience, and we can't wait."
Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes set up the win with an amazing spell of yorkers and variations at the end of New Zealand's innings, going for just 20 in the last four. It was a continuation from their impressive effort against Sri Lanka when a late Angelo Mathews assault had put them under pressure. "The momentum that we carried over from the end of their innings to ours was outstanding," Roy said. "They've grown in confidence from the Sri Lanka performance. It was just perfect."
Then Roy came out blazing. He said it was the plan to try to knock the stuffing out of New Zealand's defence. "You kind of want to give yourself a chance," Roy said. "But when you get off to a good start like that you kind of just want to keep going, and I did. I got a bit of luck and got a few boundaries, hit a few gaps. The next minute I was there and next minute I was out. Yeah it was an idea to go out there and smash every ball to be honest. Sometimes you go out there and struggle your first 10 balls and don't hit a boundary.
"That's pretty special for me, to get this group of boys to a final. Obviously it wasn't just me - the bowlers were outstanding towards the end, their skill sets were amazing. I'm just hugely proud to be involved."
Coming into the tournament, England captain Eoin Morgan spoke of how they needed to "embrace the naiveté". Roy said the philosophy didn't change for a big game. "All the boys today were extremely chilled out," he said. "We go out and do what we practice: if it works it works, it doesn't it doesn't. We'll have bad days and good days but it's gone our way the last few days."
There is going to be one more big day after what Roy termed a day "as good as it probably gets". It will be a totally new set of conditions for England, and could be against either West Indies, who beat them earlier, or the pre-tournament favourites India. It is a day England are totally "buzzed for". Roy summed up what's in store: "We're getting better with every game. It's just another game of cricket. It just happens to be at Eden Gardens in the World Cup final in front of 100,000 people. It's going to be an incredible experience but we're going to go out there and play our natural way and play the brand of cricket we've played for the last year or so."
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo