After Sri Lanka’s unforgettable 1996 World Cup triumph, the sport will have a new champion for the first time in over 23 years. In a bid to continue the streak of hosts emerging victorious, England will lock horns with New Zealand, the finalists from the previous edition, who are so much more desperate to go one step ahead and face another heartbreak.
England have been preparing for this moment for the last four years. They took some harsh decisions to drop a few seniors, experimented with a lot of young players, some of them turned out to be superstars. But the biggest decision of them all, they decided to continue their faith in Eoin Morgan, which turned out to be a masterstroke.
What is on cards for the Kiwis? Everything! This a dream which nearly came true under the astounding leadership of Martin Crowe in 1992. Then again in 2015, Brendon McCullum led the charge as the strongest ever Kiwi contingent who almost climbed the Everest, but fell a foot short at the MCG.
From the game’s one historic venue in Australia to the Mecca of cricket, the Blackcaps have taken a slightly longer road to reach another final, but Kane Williamson’s inspirational leadership has kept New Zealand grunting and hunting alive, which makes up for a mouth-watering Sunday in London.
No changes are expected in the XI despite the openers’ poor form. Martin Guptill’s rough patch has jolted the Kiwis significantly, but he’s been contributing significantly on the field. Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson batted smartly against India to get a par total and once again will be very important in their middle order.
Mitchell Santner has shown how deadly he can be if he’s getting a little purchase off the track, which should keep him in the XI. Lockie Ferguson has picked 18 wickets this tournament, Matt Henry is coming into this game after a brilliant performance against India and Boult is dependable always, which makes their fast bowling a significant threat for any side.
Henry Nicholls, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Trent Boult.
Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow are leading the charge for England with scintillating performances nearly every game. Their 124-run opening stand killed the Aussie hopes in the semifinals and made things easy for Eoin Morgan and Joe Root to take over. Ben Stokes has been a decent run-contributor this edition and Jos Buttler is always a threat.
Mark Wood, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes are doing a lot of damage with their pace and skill. Liam Plunkett has performed well in a few games and is expected to retain his place in the XI. This will strengthen their bowling humongous as they have a sixth bowling option in the form of Ben Stokes. Adil Rashid will be the hosts’ lone spinner.
Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood.
Focus will be on
Ross Taylor (New Zealand)
One of New Zealand’s greatest batsmen of all time, this is the time for Ross Taylor to step up and take his side over the line. He did it brilliantly against India in the semifinals and looking at the concerning form of most of their batters, he needs to play responsibly and help the team get a total which can win them the game. This could also be his final game in World Cups.
Joe Root (England)
“He’s the only one in their top order who doesn’t bat aggressively,” they said, and Joe Root reverted in style. Without giving up on his playing style, he collected 549 of the most beautiful runs one can ask for. Exactly a 100 runs in the final can make him the highest run-scorer in the tournament (Given Kane Williamson doesn’t get that amount of runs). If England go on to win the trophy, this batting performance from Root will be legend reiterated for many years.
Head to head
Matches played – 90 | England won – 41 | New Zealand won – 43 | Tied – 2 | No result – 4
4 – England becomes the second side to play four or more World Cup finals after Australia. India, Sri Lanka and West Indies are tied with three finals in the third position. Australia have reached the finals a staggering 7 times.
50 – This will be Mark Wood’s 50th game of his ODI career.
TV – Star Sports
Live Streaming – Hotstar
Match Timings – 15:00 IST; 10:30 local.
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