The sacred aisles of the Home of Cricket shall be brimming with excitement as hosts England face 2015 runners-up New Zealand in the title clash of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 here at Lord’s on Sunday.
It took England a significant change in approach and a staggering 27 years to find themselves competing in a World Cup final. Their resurgence post the disappointing exit from the 2015 edition, started with a 3-2 triumph in a high-scoring bilateral one-day international series against the then runners-up New Zealand.
On Sunday, they face the same opponents, as they aim to win their first World Cup final after three previously failed attempts in 1979, 1987 and 1992.
Jason Roy’s return to the playing XI has had an instant impact on the Eoin Morgan-led side as they staged a remarkable comeback after back-to-back defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia in the league stage. Their top three have been a match-winning trio, having amassed 1,471 runs between them. The bowling too, led by Chris Woakes’ discipline and Jofra Archer’s intensity has mounted pressure on their opponents on a consistent basis.
New Zealand, with their remarkable win against the league stage table-toppers and favourites India, have given enough evidence of the game’s unpredictable nature, as much as their own. The experienced duo of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor has been shouldering the responsibility with the bat after frequent failures from the top order. Their bowling attack, powered by the intensity of Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry and nurtured by the calming and disciplined influence of Trent Boult has been producing match-defining results in the tournament.
Playing their second successive World Cup final, New Zealand will desperately need a strong foundation from their openers to set the game in their favour. Considering the recent form, league stage result and home conditions, England seem to have their noses slightly ahead. However, New Zealand’s ability to excel as a team on big occasions, promise a tough challenge for the hosts.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Tom Blundell (wk), Mitchell Santner, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee,
Trent Boult, Colin Munro, Ish Sodhi, Henry Nicholls, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry,
England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.