The first 11 World Cup finals had enjoyed their share of thrills and spills but nothing has ever matched the extraordinary drama that closed out the 12th edition.
The 2019 final between England and New Zealand at Lord's produced one of the most dramatic finishes in the tournament’s history.
|What||World Cup 2023|
|When||5th October - 19th November 2023|
|How to watch||Sky Sports Cricket & Main Event|
|Odds||India 11/5, England 3/1, Australia 4/1, Pakistan 7/1, New Zealand 15/2, South Africa|
After 100 overs of utterly engrossing and ultimately jaw-dropping international cricket, Lord's rose to its feet to acclaim two sides who simply couldn't be separated.
Twelve balls later, the first time the Super Over had been used in a World Cup game, there was still no splitting them.
But a trophy had to be held aloft and it was finally done so by Eoin Morgan, not because England had scored more runs or taken more wickets but by virtue of the fact that they had clattered more boundaries. Just an incredible finish to an unforgettable day.
What happened in the last hour or so at Lord's is written in folklore yet the irony is that for the first half of the afternoon little of note happened.
And that was good news for England, who had lost the toss only to turn the screw on Kane Williamson's Black Caps with a masterful bowling display on a sluggish track.
None of the New Zealanders were allowed to get away, Martin Guptill the only member of their top eight who scored at more than a run a ball with 19 off 18.
Henry Nicholls top scored with 55 and starred in a 74-run second wicket partnership with Williamson.
Chris Woakes and Liam Plunkett bagged three wickets apiece as England's four front-line seamers and leggie Adil Rashid all went at under five runs an over.
Between them the batters only found the boundary 16 times, little more than an unimpressive statistic when their innings closed on 241-8. It was only a few hours later that the significance of that boundary count would become apparent.
New Zealand's 241 never looked enough but within just a few balls of the start of the England chase, with Trent Boult swinging it prodigiously and Matt Henry’s economy from the other end, there was an edginess setting in at Lord's.
And that restlessness quickly consumed England's top order with Jason Roy departing early followed by Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and skipper Morgan, all gone with just 86 on the board and almost halfway through their overs.
The biggest of occasions demands a big-game performer and Stokes was born for that role. Mixing caution and power, the two of them worked England back into the game, adding 110 crucial runs for the fifth wicket.
They still needed 15 off the final over and that's when Stokes enjoyed one of the greatest slices of luck ever witnessed in a cricket match, when a throw from the deep was inadvertently diverted to the boundary of the all-rounder's bat as he slid to make his ground.
England fans called it a miracle, New Zealand's plain cruel, but the upshot was that two balls later England, apparently down and out, had also made 241.
Stokes was unbeaten on 84 and, for the first time in the history of the competition, a Super Over was required to decide the winner.
It had been a quite extraordinary finish to the main event, and now there was an encore – and it didn't disappoint.
Stokes and Buttler emerged again to face six balls of Trent Boult and hurried and scampered their way to 15.
Morgan then went left-field when he elected raw and inexperienced quickie Jofra Archer to bowl England to victory, though that looked unlikely when Jimmy Neesham carved Archer's second ball of six into the Mound Stand.
Seven runs off four should have been a simple enough equation. So too three off two.
But Archer held his nerve, chucking in a well-aimed bouncer on ball five which went for a single and then kept Martin Guptill to one off the last courtesy of Roy's throw from the deep.
The scores were tied but England knew. New Zealand knew. knew. You'd have got long odds on boundary countback deciding the 2019 World Cup final at the start of a crazy day, but as Buttler whipped the bails off to run out Guptill everyone knew that England had won the trophy for the first time.
And it's safe to say there will never be another final quite like it again.