England and New Zealand will face off in the 2019 ICC World Cup decider on Sunday night (AEST) at Lord’s in what promises to be an electrifying clash.
It marks New Zealand’s second consecutive World Cup final, going down to the Aussies at the MCG in 2015 as they look to go one better this year and claim their first trophy at the tournament.
The Kiwis qualified for the decider in a nail-biting shock win over India in a game they were given no hope of winning. New Zealand were led by Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson with the bat, making 74 and 67 respectively. But it was their bowling attack of Matt Henry, Mitchell Santner and Trent Boult that really changed the game, taking the early wickets of star Indian trio KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
Gary Stead’s side is expected to go into the final unchanged despite opening batsmen Martin Guptil and Henry Nicholls’ struggles against India. Guptil is averaging just 20 runs over the tournament, while Nicholls is averaging 12 from his three innings.
Williamson has led New Zealand with the bat over the tournament and has carried them to big scores, averaging a team-best 91 runs from his eight innings, including a 148 against the West Indies in the group stages. And he will simply need to perform in the final if the Kiwis are any chance, particularly if the rest of their key batsman continue to misfire.
It has been New Zealand’s bowlers that have largely guided them through the tournament, with pacers Lockie Ferguson and Boult leading the charge. The duo will have to be out in full force if they can get through England’s formidable batting line-up.
England steamrolled their way through Australia at Edgbaston to qualify for their first final in 27 years. And like their opponent, will be looking to win their first World Cup trophy, with three runners-up to their name.
The host’s semi-final win was arguably their best performance of the tournament, as Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes were in scintillating form with the ball, swinging it in all directions.
Trevor Bayliss’ side lost the toss to the Aussies and fielded first, but their fierce bowling got them off to the ideal start that was ultimately the difference in the game.
After such a strong display, it would be a shock to see England make any changes to their team, possessing the ideal team balance for the 50-over format.
Jason Roy’s return from injury has been a major boost for this side, and combined with Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root and Stokes, boast a deep batting order capable of hitting huge scores. The opening partnership of Roy and Bairstow is particularly key, and the duo never fail to deliver, averaging 71 and 68 runs respectively.
Combined with their ferocious bowling attack, there really isn’t any holes in this England team and they will take great confidence into Sunday after dismantling the Aussies. Archer has been the real bright light of this team, having taken 19 wickets for the tournament.
When these sides met earlier in the group stages, England won by 119 runs at Riverside Ground.
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