They started the World Cup as the favourites and finished as the champions. Yes, the English cricket team did experience a great deal of turbulence mid-way through their campaign. But the strength of character they have shown over the last four years and which made them a top-ranked side came to their aid and gave them the World.
However, while the world looks on the English team's victory as a vindication of the policies adopted by the cricket board and team's leadership for the last four years, the disappointment of New Zealand is something all genuine cricket lovers will feel sorry about.
When one looks back at this game, there will be many small things which, if done differently, or slices of luck, which, if they had favoured the Black Caps, would have led to a different result. Let's then, look at the 4 biggest causes of England's victory and New Zealand's disappointment.
Luck of the English
For all the great things England did to deserve this title, they couldn't have achieved it if it hadn't been for some big slices of luck. The four overthrows off the bat of Ben Stokes would be on the top of everyone's mind but there were other instances also. Both Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy were lucky to survive, as long as they did, against the testing bowling of the Kiwis. In fact, Roy was lucky to be given not out on the very first ball of the innings.
They also got a bad decision in their favour when Ross Taylor was given out despite the ball missing the stumps. Yes, the Kiwis had wasted their review but it was still a bad decision. Then, there was the catch by Trent Boult which turned into a six because he didn't throw the ball to Guptill, standing nearby, before stepping onto the rope. In a match that ended in a tie, all these little things amounted to much.
Plunkett's mid-innings spell
Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls had set a great platform for New Zealand to get a big score. They were both looking in good touch and Williamson, especially, seemed set for a big score. However, Liam Plunkett ended the innings of both the players. It is this very role that Plunkett is supposed to play in the England team – the wicket taker in the middle overes – and he has played it brilliantly. His back of a length bowling with the cross seam did the job and stopped the Kiwis in their tracks, ensuring a big score was out of their reach.
Archer's death bowling
Everyone would talk about the super over that Jofra Archer bowled in this match. However, it was his bowling at the end of New Zealand's innings that also deserves serious attention. The 24-year old pacer gave a brilliant demonstration of death-overs bowling and, with a combination of yorkers, slower balls, bouncers and slower bouncers prevented New Zealand from getting the runs they wanted in the last 10 overs. If it wasn't for that, the Black Caps would have scored a few more runs and that would have been enough for them to win the match.
Sensible batting by Stokes and Buttler
If there is one thing about England's batting over the last four years that could be criticized, it was their inability, at times, to adapt to conditions that weren't easy for batting. In this match also, shot making wasn't as easy as it usually is in ODI cricket these days. When England were 86/4, there was a serious danger that the two batsmen at the crease, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler would play their 'natural game' and won't hold back. But the two batsmen showed great intelligence and were very measured in their play. Buttler later revealed that they indeed decided to take the match deep, that is into the last few overs. In other words, no unnecessary risks. It was this sensible play because of which they built a big partnership that rescued England and put them in a strong position.