In the first article in a new series, Alternative Universe, where our writers let their imagination change the game: a New World Cup winner

The moment
Remember that time when England needed nine runs off three balls to win the World Cup and they got six of 'em thanks to a ridiculous stroke of luck - a deflection off Ben Stokes' bat going to the boundary for overthrows? "Just one of those things," Kane Williamson said after he and his team did everything they could to become World Cup winners, only to be beaten without really being beaten.

The tweak
Imagine if Martin Guptill had hit the stumps direct - it looked like he was going to - almost exactly like he did in the semi-final to dismiss MS Dhoni. Heck, even if he didn't, imagine if that ball had gone to one of his ten other team-mates around Lord's, and not all the way to the boundary. Well, in this reality, you don't have to imagine. In this reality, the ricochet is stopped and England end up needing seven off the last two balls.

What could have happened next
Trent Boult closes the game out. New Zealand are the new world champions. Jimmy Neesham's timeline is a kinder, gentler place, full of sunshine, and pictures of him wearing his winner's medal are photoshopped into all the moments that shaped our world - standing beside Dr King when he gave his address, singing on stage with Beyonce…

Best of all, though, Williamson becomes the nice guy who actually finished first. Then gets addicted to that feeling and does all manner of things to feed it. Cue Sandpapergate II: rubbing it the wrong way.

Okay, that got way too dark. Maybe the boundary countback was the best thing to ever happen to New Zeala-

Nope. Still can't say it.

For more such flights of fancy, click here.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo