Theresa May has saluted England’s World Cup winners as flag-bearers for “modern Britain” who have made the nation fall in love with cricket once again.

The Prime Minister welcomed Eoin Morgan’s triumphant team to a Downing Street reception on Monday evening, a day after their dramatic victory over New Zealand at Lord’s.

She said: “You are a team that represents modern Britain, and that plays like no other side in the world.

“When the odds were against you in the biggest game of your lives, you simply and stubbornly refused to lose.

“It is that determination, that character, that has made you world champions. But more than that, you have made history.

“You have helped the nation fall in love with cricket once again. You have inspired countless future Morgans, Rashids and Archers.”

The trip to Downing Street came with the players still processing their achievement, having brought home the trophy for the first time in a nail-biting conclusion to a hard-fought contest.

England’s Ben Stokes during the World Cup celebrations at the Kia Oval
England’s Ben Stokes during the World Cup celebrations at the Oval (Steven Paston/PA)

All-rounder Ben Stokes was named Man of the Match after holding together England’s reply to the Kiwis’ total of 241, ensuring the sides were tied at the end of 50 overs and then along with Jos Buttler setting a target in the super over which 24-year-old bowler Jofra Archer managed to defend, if only just.

Stokes told PA: “I’ve woken up in better conditions, but it’s an incredible feeling.

“I don’t know if it’s sunk in yet but coming down here and seeing what a small portion of the support we’ve had feels about it… the kids, the adults… these feelings are something we will hold on to forever.

“We would have been devastated if we hadn’t managed to lift that trophy, but looking back over that game, I think it will go down in the history books as the best ever with all the drama of a World Cup final. It’s an amazing thing to be part of.”

Stokes and his team-mates had earlier attended a victory party at the Oval, where they paraded the trophy in front of hundreds of excited schoolchildren.

Test captain Joe Root said: “World champions – it sounds pretty special, doesn’t it? If you’d said it four years ago, I might not have believed you.

“But what a journey, what a tournament. If we’re honest, some things are just written in the stars.”