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Liam Plunkett has become England’s lucky charm – and even when they looked dead and buried the veteran seamer knew they were destined for glory.
England are world champions for the first time in the history of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup – after a thrilling final victory over New Zealand at Lord’s.
Ben Stokes’ heroics rescued a chase that looked all but over and then performed more miracles in the Super Over alongside Jos Buttler.
The Black Caps then fell agonisingly short in response, and Plunkett ends this World Cup unbeaten – England’s three group-stage losses happened with Plunkett left out of the XI.
And after a four-year journey under captain Eoin Morgan that has taken them to the top of the world – the 34-year-old believes destiny has played its part.
“The old lucky charm thing, I was riding with it! I was hoping the coach thinks that so I can get a game,” he said.
“What a day, it’s been a long journey! I played against Ross Taylor in the first World Cup I played, and now in the blink of an eye I am playing him at Lord’s.
“I don’t believe in the stars and all that stuff, but it was the first time that I felt: ‘This is meant to be.’
“We have played together as a group for the last four years and we have played difference countries and we have dominated teams.
“I just felt we did deserve it as a bunch of guys.
“We are good mates but we also work hard. Everyone else does but I felt it was meant to be.
“Especially when those overthrows went, that changed the tide.”
Plunkett was selected way back for the 2007 World Cup as a young tyro, but since has had to bide his time with long spells in the international wilderness.
But after this watershed moment on free-to-air TV – he hopes the first Ashes winning team of 2005 that inspired a nation have been replicated 14 years on.
He added: “The last four years playing for England was the best time of my life.
“Even if we didn’t win the World Cup it would have still be a journey. We have been amazing, we have changed the culture of cricket in England.
“People expect us to win which is a lot different from a few years back.
“To watch guys like Jos, freaks like Jofra step up to the plate, it’s amazing for me to just watch it.
“What a day, it has changed the history of English cricket and everyone got to watch that. I hope everyone gets involved and loves it like when we won the Ashes. It was a special day.”
Plunkett has chipped in with big wickets all tournament – he dismissed Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and Quinton de Kock to name but three – but he got the biggest fish of all on Sunday.
Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson nicked off to Jos Buttler as England tightened the screw and Plunkett was delighted to return to England’s side at just the right time.
“Kane is a massive player and to get a crucial wicket is what I do pride myself on so it was nice to get that," he added.
“As soon as I came up the hill (from the Nursery End) I felt comfortable attacking the crease, it felt a lot better.
“To get that wicket and close up and not go for many wickets. I was satisfied but I knew the job was half done.
“You cannot be too bitter (if you are out the team), you can be bitter and upset inside that you are not playing. Especially if you feel like you are doing well. But look at TC (Tom Curran), he has done nothing wrong, his stats have been class.
“You can be disappointed but you have to turn up and keep training.
“And when you get the nod, you have got perform.”