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Match Analysis

Nerve, skill, errors: how the greatest ODI finish played out

You couldn't have scripted the end of the World Cup final better and it will take a long time to make sense of it. But here's an attempt

"It was just one of those things, hey" - Kane Williamson, World Cup final press conference.
Over 44.5
Jos Buttler has changed how batsmen hit the ball. His golf-swing-power-fade shots have shown that big sixes aren't solely about how big you are. Not that he isn't in peak physical condition; as usual, every part of him is immaculate. If he looks like he has been grown in a lab by sports scientists, it's because the ECB would actually do that if they could. And like he seems to do more than most, Buttler bats as if the pitch is different for him. His strike rate is 100 when he faces the last ball of the 45th over. The rest of his team is nowhere near that.
Lockie Ferguson is bowling to him. He has his long-sleeved shirt untucked, he's wearing his black boots, he does not look like an international cricketer. More the bloke who rocks up to your local club like he has never played the game, before bouncing out everyone. He doesn't use pace or bounce, he bowls wide and slow. Buttler slices it towards deep point. Tim Southee - the 12th man who took 7 for 33 against England in the last World Cup - is part of the best fast-bowling fielding packs in the world. But he misjudges the ball, going left, then right, before sliding in to take it barely above the surface.
Maybe it was like this all day, but this is where it really started. Whatever this was - one of those things.
Over 45.6
Jimmy Neesham is a part-time bowler. He is probably the sixth bowler for New Zealand at times. At best he is part of the fifth bowler with Colin de Grandhomme. But in the last two games, he has been something else: a death bowler. Last match he had to hold his nerve with MS Dhoni at the crease. In this one, to win a World Cup. And this part-timer, fifth bowler, batting allrounder, whatever you call him, stands up. His first 11 balls in the Powerplay go for seven.
Now he's bowling to Ben Stokes, a man desperate to not be remembered for a fight outside a nightclub. And he has three boundaries in 85 balls. Buttler is gone, the lower order is in, it is now or never for Stokes. The ball is full and straight; it's a shovel-helicopter-heave, the shot you play when you spend a lot of time in the gym. And he finds four.
Over 46.1
Ferguson digs one short, and it is Chris Woakes facing. England's batting has been so deep over the last four years that Adil Rashid and his ten first-class hundreds have batted No. 11. And yet here, in the only game that matters, Woakes is at seven. It all feels different. England's entire set-up is for 350-plus and hacking the middle overs with a never-ending batting order. Now it is about just getting the runs any way you can. With Ferguson's bounce, Woakes can only top-edge.
Under the catch is Tom Latham. He came into this tournament as a quality player and then hit a form slump at the wrong time. In the first seven games he never went past 14. It was only the game against England that he looked right, but his best innings was probably today, when he made 47. The catch is the same - it goes very high, he moves in nine directions and is not in control, before finally pulling it together, taking the catch and almost falling over in disbelief.
Over 46.3
When Ferguson bowls to Liam Plunkett, it is beast meets beast. The big fast bowler up against the burly hitter. But we get beauty instead. Ferguson bowls a Richard Hadlee legcutter. Here is this young, raw fast-bowling demon - New Zealand use leg gully as near necessity for him - bowling an intricate ball that angles in, grips and moves away, missing Plunkett's outside edge. This game feels apocalyptic, and this is the daisy that stands tall in the rubble.
Over 46.5
There was a time when Plunkett was one player who looked like losing his spot to Jofra Archer. Plunkett had a disappointing Big Bash League, seemed to be down on pace, and those magical cross-seam balls just weren't working. But they did today: they did for Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls - and now he is in at eight and doing his other skill, slogging a few at the end. Plunkett kept going like England keep going.
This was England's 2992nd boundary since the last World Cup. From 1 to 11, they all get it done.
Over 47.2
Trent Boult was the one who would win New Zealand this. Left-arm seam rules Lord's, England do not face it well, and first ball, when he hit Jason Roy's pad, it looked like it would be his game. But the lbw wasn't given, and now he is scrapping away at the death. He starts well, but he gives Stokes length, and Stokes smashes one out to midwicket. Against most teams it would be four. But Mitchell Santner is there. It was Santner patrolling the boundary against India as well, pulling off great saves that put extra pressure on Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja.
Over 48.4
The ball prior, Neesham made Plunkett mistime one down to long-off; Boult took the catch. Now Neesham gets another mishit, this time from Stokes, and it's straight to Boult again. It was Boult who caught Carlos Brathwaite after Brathwaite had made a hundred at Old Trafford. It was a simple chance under colossal pressure, right on the rope. He has pulled off some of the most fantastic boundary (and non-boundary) catches over the last few years. This one isn't near his hardest. He takes the catch while falling back, and for a moment it looks like New Zealand have won the World Cup. But Boult gets his feet wrong. His right foot lands safely - had he just tried to balance on that, he would have been fine, but his left foot lands on the boundary triangle. It's not a catch, it's a six, England's first for the entire innings. Martin Guptill, the relay catcher, doesn't hesitate in calling it a six.
Over 49.3
Boult nails two yorkers. Those are the exact balls that Stokes couldn't deliver against Brathwaite in the T20 World Cup final of 2016. Here is Stokes, back in the most important over in cricket, and again he has started poorly. When Don Topley tried to comfort Stokes after that over in Kolkata - regaling him with a time in domestic cricket where Topley had allowed a big match-losing over - Stokes turned to him and said, "But it didn't happen in front of a billion people, did it?" That over haunts Stokes. It was out there in the middle with him today.
Boult gives him a chance - he hits a length. Stokes swings across it as he loses balance. His power base is lopsided, but the ball flies deep into the stand. Lord's had been nervous all day; this was the time it first roared.
Over 49.4
Boult misses his yorker again, and this time it's a full toss. Stokes should hit it back into a stand, but he clangs it and it dribbles to deep midwicket. This time Guptill is there. In the 2015 World Cup he was the leading scorer. This time he struggled all tournament with the bat, but in the field he has been god-like. It was his run-out from deep backward square to remove Dhoni that got New Zealand here. Now he's motoring in to stop Stokes from finding two. He picks it up third bounce and throws in one motion. It's a beautiful throw, right in at the stumps. The only thing that can stop it hitting the stumps is Stokes' dive.
The law change of recent times means that batsmen can't impede the ball being thrown at the stumps without a risk of being out. But Stokes is just diving because he needs to get in. He doesn't know where the ball is, but he middles it off the back of his bat while he is horizontal. The ball goes past Latham and out towards the third-man boundary. But third man is up in the circle.
Colin de Grandhomme played possibly one of the poorest innings of his life with the bat and then followed it with maybe his best spell of bowling ever. Now he's chasing this ball up the Lord's slope, and towards the rope. Behind him, Stokes has raised his hands and does not try to run for the deflected overthrows, he looks confused and apologetic. In the old days, to get a four to the Pavilion End the ball had to go up the slope and then also up the slight hill right in front of the pavilion. That hill, if it was there, might have been enough for the exhausted looking de Grandhomme to overcome the ball, instead the four metres of lost space means he can't get there - it doesn't race to the rope, it just gets there. And England have scored their second lucky six.
There are conversations between players and umpires, Stokes doesn't seem to want the runs, New Zealand would prefer they didn't count, but there is nothing they can do. No one is sure if the umpires have noticed that Guptill's throw came in before the batsmen had crossed, so perhaps the four overthrows should have stood, but only one of the actually run runs. But six runs in total are given to England. They need three from two.
Over 49.6
Because of a great Boult yorker and a great Boult take, they run Rashid out at the non-striker's end. That means England need two from the last ball. Stokes talks to Mark Wood. Stokes decides on a two, and even when Boult bowls a slower yorker outside leg stump, Stokes just pokes it into a gap, and they look for two. But he has hit it too hard, and Neesham flies in and gets the ball back to Boult, who takes off the bails. Wood, who looked injured earlier in the day when he finished his overs, Wood who almost always looks injured, who bowled probably the quickest spell in a World Cup final earlier that day, is now lying on the turf, run out by metres. New Zealand have two run-outs in as many balls. England have a tie.

Super Over - England

Stokes faces Boult again for the Super Over, and the first ball he slices over third man. Buttler motors through for three, Stokes limps his. He looks moments from crippling cramp, and like running another three could have him close to retired hurt in a Super Over.
Boult finishes the over with another full toss. One of the most accurate bowlers in world cricket, but he has now bowled two consecutive last overs. He should have won the first one, now he's strolling the second. Buttler whips the full toss with those golf power wrists, because that is what England do. That is what Buttler does. "Express yourself" is the English mantra, and Buttler's self is boundaries. Since the last World Cup, his strike rate is 124; no one else over 1000 runs is faster. This is just four more, but it puts the Super Over into supernova territory.

Super Over - New Zealand

Neesham had a list in front of him with reasons why he should or shouldn't have quit cricket only 18 months ago. He was 27, but the grind of professional cricket had almost beaten him. Injuries, form problems and missing the last World Cup had all eaten at the game he loved as a kid. Now he is New Zealand's designated hitter for the Super Over of the World Cup final. And he has slogged a full ball into the stands.
New Zealand are seven runs from four balls away from winning.
Neesham hits out to the leg side. The New Zealand pair are running two no matter what, but it turns out that they don't have to worry, as Roy flies in but fumbles the ball. A clean take and throw at Neesham's end could have removed the power-hitting batsman; instead, Roy picks the ball back up as the batsmen stroll home.
After New Zealand take another two, Neesham has two balls to find three runs. But Jofra Archer is bowling to him. Archer was a wicketkeeper in Barbados in his youth, whose selection started a row about how tight the English team were, and whether he would somehow fit in. Archer's father was born in the UK. Usually that would be enough to play for the country, but because of regulations, he had to wait to qualify for England. It seemed everything was always against Archer until he started bowling fast. He bowls very fast. Today, Archer hit someone in the head - the third time this tournament he had.
So when Neesham was drilling his full balls, Archer went short. It was in conversation with Eoin Morgan. Morgan has been through a lot in his career. A failed Test career, captaining against his own nation, and annoying some English fans by not singing their anthem. Also rebuilding English white-ball cricket. And he has captained a bowler who went for 24 runs in four balls to lose a T20 World Cup.
But this short ball works. It smashes Neesham's arm and takes him off strike. The Archer-Morgan gamble pays off. New Zealand need two runs from the last ball.
Archer's full, straight ball is flicked out to midwicket by Guptill. The reason New Zealand sent Guptill out was because of his running between the wickets. "He is such a fast runner, and that was all he had to do," Williamson said. After Guptill flicks the ball, he slips. His spikes just don't grip the surface. Roy is running around like mad. Roy made Australia's semi-final total look pitiful, but they dropped Roy during the Champions Trophy. And he has just misfielded a ball. This time he picks it up perfectly, he gets it out of his hand, and it goes back to Buttler. It is a long way from the stumps, but Guptill is a long way from the crease.
It is another tie, but a fatal one for New Zealand. The scores are the same, but England have hit more boundaries; Buttler hit seven on his own.
On the balcony, Williamson clutches his chest. It was just one of those games, hey!

Jarrod Kimber is a writer for ESPNcricinfo. @ajarrodkimber