Although England had faced quite a few defeats in the group league stage, they finally bounced back and beat India, New Zealand (twice) and Australia to win their maiden World Cup title. Their wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler played a key role in the final against New Zealand along with Ben Stokes. However, Jos Buttler can’t stop thinking about what would have happened if they lost the final.
“Before the India game, I was struggling with coming to terms with the prospect of us getting knocked out. We’d been favourites, so highly fancied by everyone, and there was the danger that four years of playing such good cricket was going to come to nothing,” Buttler said to Daily Mail.
“Think about what people will say about us as a team, think about how they will call us chokers, everything else they will say. I remember seeing a comment — maybe it was the one that got Jonny Bairstow wound up — about how it would be the biggest failure because of how much had gone into this World Cup. I was struggling with the thought of that,” he told.
“I had played in eight finals before Sunday and lost seven of them. I’d played in lots with Somerset, the Champions Trophy with England and when we lost the T20 in Kolkata and I knew how much it hurt watching the other team lift the trophy. I didn’t want to feel that pain and that regret again,” he shared.
“What was scaring me was if we lost, I didn’t know how I’d play cricket again. This was such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a World Cup final at Lord’s. It felt like destiny and I was thinking: ‘If it doesn’t happen, I will have no motivation to pick up a cricket bat for a very long time’,” he expressed.
However, the game ended in a tie and led to the Super Over. Surprisingly, that too ended in a tie and England won on the back of a superior number of the boundaries.
“You’re on autopilot really. I felt very in-the-moment. Guptill pushed it off his legs and once I saw it going straight to Jason, I thought: ‘If we get this right, we can win this’. I knew Guptill would be a long way out. Under pressure, nothing is simple but I knew it should be simple,” he explained.
“When Jason picked it up, there was no thought he might misfield it. None of those thoughts happen. He picks it up, throws it to me and I take the stumps. I had to come down the pitch a little bit but I knew that as long as I collected the ball cleanly, I would have time to get to the stumps because he was a long way out,” the England keeper batsman said.
“Lord’s is like a billiards table, so you know the bounce is going to be true. You know where the ball will end up. If I knew Guptill was going to be closer, I may have been more anxious or rushed it, but I knew I had some time to play with, so it was just as simple as making sure I got it in my hands,” he said.
“I knew in the moment I broke the wicket, that was it. Both gloves went, I threw my hat in the air. I was running around and Moeen Ali was aeroplaning past me and Jofra was on the floor miles away. Those feelings justify everything. That moment lasts for 20 seconds, maybe, and it is just the best time of your cricket career,’ he told.
“I didn’t cry after the game. I thought I would, but it wasn’t until the next day. I watched the highlights and I was overwhelmed with what we had achieved. It justifies everything you have worked for, all the sacrifice, the sacrifice of family and friends, every gym session, every net session you didn’t want to do. It justifies everything,” he further added.
Buttler shared that he felt bad for New Zealand but their win was “written in the stars”.
“I did feel sorry for the New Zealanders but at the same time I was so happy that wasn’t us. It was written in the stars. It was destiny for us as a team. I talked to Moeen about this: he said we were meant to struggle. It wasn’t meant to be easy before the India game. We talked about how enjoyable it would be when you have to struggle for it and fight for it,” shared Buttler.
“We had played in lots of series where we have blasted big scores and dominated in that way, and that is enjoyable, but to come through adversity and hardship feels even more special. That gives you so much faith that good things can happen,” he said.
“I was talking to David Young (England’s team psychologist) about how if we win, I wouldn’t care what happens in the rest of my career. That victory would be there forever and I feel it would justify everything I have ever wanted for the team and for myself,” he concluded.