Lord’s is all set to crown a new ICC World Cup champion as hosts England and New Zealand get ready to lock horns for the ultimate prize at the iconic cricket ground in London.
Both teams are yet to win a 50-over World Cup but the excruciating wait for one of them is set to end on Sunday as the curtains get ready to come down on the tournament after more than six weeks of non-stop cricket action.
Both teams have endured similar campaigns on their way to Lord’s and have tasted three defeats apiece before arriving at the final. It will therefore be the only occasion that a World Cup winning team has lost more than two games in the campaign apart from the 1992 edition where Pakistan won the crown despite losing three matches.
ENGLAND’S SHOT AT GLORY
A process that began for the hosts nearly four years ago following their 2015 World Cup debacle is nearing fruition with just one final hurdle remaining. Since then, Eoin Morgan and his men have introduced a completely new brand of ODI cricket that has taken international cricket by storm with totals of 350-400 becoming the norm with their ultra aggressive batting approach.
Packing the side with big-hitting batsmen all the way down to No10 has been the mantra for England over the last few years and it has worked wonders more often than not. It is no surprise that the hosts have breached the 300-run barrier six times already in the tournament and a seventh one is a possibility on Sunday.
It is the first World Cup final appearance in 27 years for the inventors of the game and they will fancy their chances of ending their title wait after what was a comprehensive victory over arch-rivals and defending champions Australia in the semi-final.
BLACK CAPS AIM TO MAKE AMENDS FOR 2015
Nobody really expected the Kiwis to qualify for Sunday’s final but they have once again shown that it is foolish to write them off in big tournaments such as the World Cup.
Kane Williamson and his men broke a billion plus hearts by stunning India in a thriller of a semi-final and now have the chance to rain on England’s parade in front of their home fans.
New Zealand have now qualified for the World Cup semi-final on seven separate occasions and Sunday’s final will be only their second appearance in the summit clash.
The Kiwis had made it to the final of the 2015 edition as well but were thrashed by hosts Australia in a lopsided contest at Melbourne. They are up against the hosts in the final once again and they will be determined to make amends for the 2015 loss and script the most sparkling chapter of New Zealand’s cricket history.
ENGLAND’S BATTING MIGHT VS KIWI BOWLING FIREPOWER
The finale at Lord’s will pit the most attacking batting line up of the tournament against the most economical bowling unit. England’s batsmen have been the most aggressive in the tournament so far with their overall runs coming at a rate of nearly 6.50 an over.
In total, the English batsmen have struck seven centuries between them in the ongoing edition with Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy looking particularly impressive.
New Zealand, on the other hand, have relied more on their prowess with the ball and have the most economical bowling unit in the competition at a rate of approximately five runs an over.
The pace quartet of Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry and James Neesham have accounted for 60 wickets among themselves already and they will have their tails up after rocking India’s formidable batting unit in the semi-final.
England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson.
New Zealand cricketers are one step away from not only achieving World Cup glory for the first time in their country’s cricketing history, they are also within touching distance of a cash bonanza.
As England and New Zealand face off in Lord’s on Sunday, the Kiwi players will be vying for not only their second major ICC trophy of any kind – after the 2000 ICC Champions Trophy – but also a slice of the $10 million overall prize money.
The Kiwis are already guaranteed $2 million for being in the final. If they do defeat hosts England, the will take home $4 million for winning the trophy. They came close last time against Australia in 2015 and will be hoping to go all the way this time.
Apart from the winner’s cheque, New Zealand also stand to gain $40,000 from each win in the league stage – which amounts to $200,000 after five wins. On top of that, they also get an additional $100,000 for qualifying to the semis. In all, the winner of the final stands to net $4.3 million.
New Zealand Herald quoted NZ Cricket Players’ Association chief executive Heath Mills as saying that the money would be split equally among all 15 members of the squad, while the support staff will get an equal share of their portion of the remaining money.
“It is a significant payday if they go well. And they deserve it,” Mills was quoted as saying.
“The World Cup is a significant revenue earner for the ICC, its members and obviously players should quite rightly share in that return.”
Kane Williamson insists every dog has its day, unfazed by the expectation that New Zealand will be the fall guys for a second successive World Cup final.
The New Zealand captain was in a relaxed mood at Lord’s 24 hours before their meeting against England, who thumped the Black Caps by 119 runs when they met in the group stage of the tournament earlier this month.
A third defeat in a row meant the Kiwis were left sweating on their progression to the knockout stages, only qualifying on net run-rate after finishing level on points with Pakistan.
They upset the form book, beating India by 18 runs on the reserve day of their semi-final at Old Trafford, but will once again be underdogs on Sunday against the top-ranked side in one-day internationals.
Williamson was content to confer the favourites tag on to England, who have won eight of their last 12 ODIs between the sides, as New Zealand look to go one step further than four years ago, when they were beaten by Australia.
“I think England, rightly so, deserve to be favourites,” he said, when asked whether he feels New Zealand are the underdogs.
“Coming into this tournament from the start, they were favourites and they’ve been playing really good cricket.
“But whatever dog we are, it’s just important that we focus on the cricket that we want to play and we have seen over the years that anybody can beat anybody regardless of breed of dog!”
Provided by Press Association Sports