Selby, who led 14-11 before the final session, now has three Crucible crowns against Stephen Hendry’s record seven.
Selby, 37, wins £ 500,000 in prizes and takes second place behind Judd Trump.
Perched at the top of the world ranking while winning three world titles in four years, Selby’s dominance seemed indisputable. And while those days seemed to be over, his return to training with Chris Henry, who also trains Murphy, and the quality of his complete-game suggest that he is more than capable of continuing to win the biggest snooker prizes.
Now, at the level of Scotsman John Higgins in four, only Hendry (seven), Ronnie O’Sullivan, Steve Davis, and Ray Reardon (all six) have won more world titles than Selby in the modern era.
And while it is likely to turn its attention to Trump’s usurpation, Selby’s 20th top ranking title also consolidates her place among the greats in Triple Crown events – equaling Higgins number nine, second only to Davis, Hendry. and O’Sullivan.
“Winning once against Ronnie O’Sullivan for the first time was a dream come true – winning four times is something I could only have dreamed of,” Selby told.
“Every time you reach a world final, you always try everything you can – it is such a difficult tournament to get there and you never know if it will be the last.
“My goal is to get back to number one in the world. You still have goals in your career. I’m going in the right direction.”