Hope is a tortuous sporting emotion and the Black Caps sure know how to tug the heart strings. The greatest ODI of all time will take some getting over.
Losing a World Cup final in these crushing circumstances – on the basis of scoring fewer boundaries than the opposition – is simply not right.
Those are the rules, apparently, and so the cruelest defeat in cricket history is in the books.
Rematch, anyone? England's victory certainly cannot be deemed convincing on any level.
This match was tied, twice, after all. On the scoreboard there is still no clear winner.
Why not total wickets taken instead of boundaries scored? Better still, why not another super over?
As England celebrate their maiden ODI crown, everyone should spare a thought for the Black Caps.
Lord's has witnessed many, many great feats but nothing like this. Heck, cricket has never seen a day like this. Not on this scale. Not on this stage, which makes the manner of defeat so difficult to stomach.
Generations may need to pass before New Zealand's disappointment dilutes but the Black Caps should know their passionate nation is immensely proud. They did all they could. We can ask no more.
In many ways this team embodies the spirit New Zealanders seek to embrace.
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Despite the regrettable result they again proved the sum of their parts is greater than any one individual – even the inspiring Kane Williamson, the captain with the most runs in any World Cup campaign, and the man named player of this tournament.
Reaching the final represents a major achievement for the Black Caps, given their obvious batting flaws throughout, let alone pushing the much-fancied host nation to the edge of despair at the home of cricket.
From Trent Boult's agonising stumble over the rope after catching Ben Stokes to the absurd four overthrows in the final over which helped England score 15 runs to initially tie the match, so many what if moments linger.
Bewilderment prevails after both sides then slugged 15 runs from their gripping super over standoff.
By that stage every soul was on their feet, all 30,000 of them, the majority confident it was 'coming home' after Stokes and Jos Buttler had their first crack.
As they have throughout this World Cup, though, New Zealand defied all odds.
Jimmy Neesham and Martin Guptill, run out off the last ball to sum up his deflating tournament, scrapped to the bitter end to again tie the game, only to be denied a historic triumph by the bizarre boundary rule.
Guptill being helped to his feet will be one of the enduring images.
Bitter it is, having come oh so close. Elite sport is a ruthless, unforgiving business – of that there is no question.
Capturing this match and its many twists and turns is near impossible.
It should be remembered for two teams contesting their first ODI crown in a sweaty palms, can't sit still, finale for the ages.
Unlike New Zealand's first final at Melbourne Cricket Ground four years ago, the Black Caps were in this fight from the first ball to the last.
Following their semifinal script and opting to bat first, the Black Caps performed a time warp like innings, transporting back decades to reprise conservative tactics and scrap their way to a competitive 241 on another difficult, seaming wicket.
Sarcasm about New Zealand's lack of boundaries came quicker than a Jofra Archer short ball but the Black Caps welcomed every quick single, two, and wide.
Henry Nicholls dug in to top score with 55 which, together with Tom Latham's fighting 47, formed New Zealand's backbone. Extras were next best, tied with Williamson who edged out for 30.
Ross Taylor, meanwhile, had Guptill to thank for wasting the team review after copping a dud lbw decision.
The Black Caps looked 20, possibly, 30 runs short.
Their body language and intent prior to the second innings told a different story, though.
During the innings break, before charging back onto the manicured field, the Black Caps perched along the electronic advertising signs under the Lord's pavilion. Arms folded, legs crossed, in the biggest occasion of their lives, to a man they were relaxed.
Williamson gathered his team in a huddle for the final address. The six bowlers were the last to clasp hands. Together, they believed.
Not since India posted 183 and dismissed the West Indies for 140 at this same venue in 1983 had anyone defended a smaller World Cup final total.
Many punters were yet to resume seats when Boult delivered his first ball peach which hooped back and clattered into Jason Roy's pads. Roy's prized wicket should have opened New Zealand's defence.
Instead South African umpire Marais Erasmus' mind was still on lunch as he delivered his second poor decision – Taylor the other – to give Roy a life.
Matt Henry had the ball talking in his superb opening seven over spell which eventually claimed Roy for 17 lucky runs.
With three successive maidens, Henry and Colin de Grandhomme turned the screws to lure the usually calm and composed Joe Root into a false shot.
"They've lost their heads here," a concerned English scribe muttered in the press box.
The subdued crowd echoed the growing tension.
As Bairstow and Eoin Morgan departed suddenly the "Kiwis, Kiwis" chant reverberated for first time. Williamson soon had seven men inside the ring, all hunting further scalps.
Stokes and Butler arrived with England 86-4 and New Zealand marginally on top. Their 110-run partnership guided England through to requiring 72 from the last 10 overs, when Stokes was left to flay the bat.
In the end Stokes' survival encapsulates a match that very easily could have gone either way.
In a cricketing sense, four years has never felt so long.