An inexplicable, otherworldly day at Lord's

Jimmy Neesham is left devastated (Getty)
Jimmy Neesham is left devastated (Getty)

London - Trying to make sense of what happened at Lord's on Sunday is an exercise not worthy of the time. 

The events that transpired in those final moments, as England and New Zealand pounded each other with whatever they had left, were pure theatre. 

If it was a boxing match, all three judges would have scored it a draw. If it was a soccer match, the goalkeeper would have had to take penalties in a sudden-death shootout that just wouldn't end. If it was a tennis match, they would have had to come back for a second and third day to complete the fifth set. 

The most creative mind could never have scripted this. 

The only thing that did go according to plan was England leaving as world champions. 

On some level, it may have been easier for the Black Caps to take had they been outplayed on the day. But to come this agonisingly close and lose a World Cup without actually losing the match - twice – is as tough as sport gets. 

"Kids, don’t take up sport. Take up baking or something. Die at 60 really fat and happy," allrounder Jimmy Neesham, always a laugh on social media, tweeted on Sunday night. 

Neesham was backed to do the business in the Black Caps' Super Over and came agonisingly close.

He, like every other New Zealander on that field, was devastated. 

Exactly how Kane Williamson managed to get through his post-match press conference without cracking was zen-like. He held his head high and took it on the chin, praising England's consistency as the best team in the world and acknowledging that it wasn't meant to be. 

That Martin Guptill throw from the boundary to the wicketkeeper's end that hit Ben Stokes' bat and trickled away for four bonus runs will be talked about forever. 

In that moment, time seemed to stand still at Lord's. 

The ball took what seemed an age to get to the fence, and as it did the feeling of injustice was tangible. 

What was 9 off 3 had become 3 off 2 with a punch to midwicket that should never have been more than two runs. 

It just wasn't fair. 

Before the chaos, sport was presenting itself in its purest form with both sides exchanging blows in a contest that was already shaping up to be one for the ages.

The English 'choke' was unfolding, and at 86/4 in their pursuit of 242, they were on course for a fourth loss at a World Cup final.

It took a special batting effort from Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler to turn things around, and the role of the English crowd can not be understated.

Through the famed 'Barmy Army', Lord's found its collective voice when England needed them most.

They roared at every run. Boundaries were a carnival.

In those moments, the power of this great game was there for all to see. It meant everything. Nothing else mattered.

Maybe not immediately, but the 11 Kiwis who were left heartbroken on the turf of the Home of Cricket can take solace in the fact that they played their part in one of the game's great days. 

This surpasses the famous '438 game' of 2006 at the Wanderers between the Proteas and Australia, because of the context and the stakes. 

It was the perfect advertisement for cricket.

It showed that in this crazy game, anything truly can happen. It showed that there can be things nobody can control and, most importantly, it showed how much people - the players and spectators - care. 

Nobody can fault England or Eoin Morgan for their success. It is four years in the making and it is not their fault that the rules, for whatever reason, thought it best that total number of boundaries be used as a tiebreaker. 

They deserve this win, and they deserve to celebrate unashamedly.

But if you don't feel for Williamson and New Zealand, then you might be dead inside. 

To come out on the wrong end of a World Cup final when you didn't lose? On a day when the cricketing gods conspired to do all they could to ensure you could not succeed? 

That's about as excruciating as it gets. 

On this day, like so many others, the good guys finished last. 

@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ... 

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