The prime ministers of England and New Zealand lauded their cricket teams’ performance in the World Cup, which helped bring the sport into the limelight in nations obsessed with football and rugby.
Prime Minister Theresa May thanked the England team for winning the showpiece and ending a 44-year wait. “You have helped the nation fall in love with cricket once again,” May told the England players at her official residence 10 Downing Street, according to British media reports.
“The final was not just cricket at its best but sport at its best – courage, character, sportsmanship, drama, incredible skill and even the odd slice of luck – all combining to create a real thriller, one of the great sporting spectacles of our time,” she added.
Football remains the most popular sport in England, while rugby has a loyal following in New Zealand but cricketers in both the countries have caught the public imagination following the pulsating World Cup summit clash.
In what is being hailed as the greatest World Cup final at Lord’s on Sunday, England have adjudged winners on the basis of their superior boundary count – 22 fours and two sixes — to New Zealand’s 17 after the epic final, and the ensuing super over, ended in a tie.
May added, “It was a fitting end to what has been a great tournament – and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in once again making our country a sporting showcase for the world.”
New Zealand Premier Jacinda Ardern praised the Black Caps for putting their all on the line and then accepting the gut-wrenching defeat with grace.”That was undeniably an incredible game.
I think as a nation we all aged a year in that super over. Congratulations to England. And to the Black Caps, I feel nothing but pride. What a team,” wrote Ardern on Instagram.