Sympathy and admiration for New Zealand in defeat.

There were glowing tributes for New Zeland after victory was snatched away from them, in somewhat controversial circumstances, in the cricket World Cup final.

The most glowing came from Tim Wigmore in The Telegraph:

"In those split seconds when they can taste victory, this seems like not merely New Zealand cricket's greatest day, but one to recalibrate the image of the country's cricket. Not just the nice guys and overachievers – but also winners on cricket's grandest stage," he wrote.

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"England's miracle means that there is no New Zealand miracle. But there is still glory in their journey, reaffirmed by the quiet dignity with which they accept their unfathomable bad luck and even more unfathomable defeat.

"Somehow, they have lost – but the way in which they have done so has enriched the final, the tournament and their sport."

There was a similar reaction from the Guardian.

Former England spinner Vic Marks wrote: "This was the most astonishing, fortuitous, preposterous climax to any cricket match I've witnessed, let alone a World Cup final.

"Only the Kiwis could have coped so graciously with the manner of their defeat in the most riveting final this tournament has ever witnessed."

On the match-turning moment, when Martin Guptill's throw ricocheted off the bat of a diving Ben Stokes, Marks wrote: In these circumstances the etiquette is that the batsmen should not run, which was observed by the two England players.
"But once the ball had crossed the boundary the umpires had no alternative but to signal that six runs had been scored. Two had been run plus the four overthrows."

England celebrate their countback victory. Photo / Getty Images
England celebrate their countback victory. Photo / Getty Images

The Guardian's blog writers contended:

"New Zealand would have been worthy winners.

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"They certainly don't deserve to be nearly men yet again, beaten finalists for the second time in a row, following all those semis down the decades.

"What they lack in charisma, they more than make up by being cool, calm and civilised."

"Ben Stokes, the biggest superhero of them all, is in tears. New Zealand have taken the defeat - if we can even call it that - with astonishing dignity."

The Times headline screamed: "Action man Ben Stokes reborn as a national hero'

"Frankly, it was a surprise that they did not ask Ben Stokes to bowl the Super Over too," wrote Steve James.

"He seemed to be doing everything else. Despite barely being able to walk through the fatigue of the most intense of innings, you would not have bet against his nailing the yorkers.

"This was Stokes's day. This was his repayment for what happened outside a Bristol nightclub two years ago. This was confirmation that he is not just a truly great technical international batting all-rounder but a cricketer of special character and temperament too.

"That it came against the country of birth provided a story full of irony but that is a tale that has long since passed."

New Zealand's Trent Boult catches England's Ben Stokes but steps on the boundary rope to concede 6 runs during the Cricket World Cup final match between England and New Zealand. Photo / AP
New Zealand's Trent Boult catches England's Ben Stokes but steps on the boundary rope to concede 6 runs during the Cricket World Cup final match between England and New Zealand. Photo / AP

The Independent's Jonathan Liew wrote:

"England are world champions. Four little words that do the gravest of injustices to one of the greatest finishes ever seen at a game of cricket.

"In a way, only cricket could have produced a finish like this, one that blended unfathomable skill, unimaginable drama, outrageous fortune and a penchant for arcane rule-making.

"As Jos Buttler broke the wicket at Pavilion End to bring the World Cup final to its conclusion, many in the ground had no idea why England were celebrating so wildly. Even fewer, you suspect, cared.

"It's useless trying to parse the sequence of events that led us to that point, to affix some sort of coherent narrative to a triumph that defied all rational explanation. Sport is silly, and sport is cruel, and at the end England are world champions."

He described the ball deflecting off Stokes' bat to the boundary as" a misfortune entirely beyond comprehension, and one that ultimately separated (New Zealand) from glory."

"New Zealanders the world over will relive those few seconds for many years."

On the manner of the win, the Super Over/countback method, Liew reckoned: "Perhaps you were entirely new to all this palaver, and earnestly wondering how grown adults could get quite so caught up in this silly little business of hitting a white ball around.

"In which case, welcome. It gets better than this – honestly – but not much more thrilling, and not a lot less silly, either.

"For how else to explain to the uninitiated that eight hours of cricket can be decided on a technicality?"


On social media, former Kiwi cricketer Scott Styris appeared unhappy with the tie-breaker.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan said neither side deserved to lose.

The Alternative Commentary Collective are podcasting their way through the World Cup. Known for their unconventional sports analysis and off-kilter banter, the ACC have come to ask the tough questions. Here's the latest episode of 'The Agenda':

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT