World Cup final at Lord’s today : England favourites but no underestimating New Zealand | Sunday Observer

World Cup final at Lord’s today : England favourites but no underestimating New Zealand

England  captain  Eoin Morgan and New Zealand captain  Kane  Williamson
England captain Eoin Morgan and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson

LONDON, Saturday – The Cricket World Cup will have its first new winner since Sri Lanka in 1996 when England and New Zealand two teams that have never held the coveted silverware in their hands before contest for the game’s ultimate prize at the home of cricket Lord’s on Sunday. London and the whole of England are agog that after 27 years, England are within one match away from winning the World Cup for the first time in their history after it eluded their grasp on three previous instances.

The last occasion England entered a final at home was 40 years ago in 1979 when Mike Brearley’s side was thrashed by 92 runs by West Indies led by Clive Lloyd. Since then England entered the final twice in 1987 when they lost to Australia by seven runs at Kolkata and in 1992 when they lost by 22 runs to Pakistan at Melbourne.

Trevor Bayliss, the Australian-born coach is of the view that England should emulate their famous 2005 Ashes win that influenced a new generation of cricketers.“I think we have got the chance here in England to influence another generation of young cricketers. There are a number of players in this team who were fairly young when the 2005 Ashes was happening. It inspired those guys to greater things so hopefully this can do a similar thing for the next generation,” said Bayliss ahead of Sunday’s final.

England’s cricketers have received a significant boost with the news that the players are in line to earn bonuses of 200,000 pounds sterling each if they win the final. England are favourites to lift the trophy and players and staff alike are certain of the opportunity ahead. Their destiny lies in the hands of an Irishman Eoin Morgan who in the last four years has built up an England side that is now at the cusp of putting every facet of their game which is in solid working order into play and cementing their place in history.

Against New Zealand the spice of their rivalry with Australia will be missing and will be replaced by the nervous fizz of a final. England beat New Zealand by 119 runs at Durham in the league stage, but since then New Zealand have pulled a rabbit from a hat to beat another tournament favourite India and issue a reminder of their spectacular fielding and bowling. Morgan rates them as “the hardest side to beat”.

“Sunday’s not a day to shy away from, it’s a day to look forward to,” said Morgan. “We have created an opportunity to play in a World Cup final. It is a matter of trying to produce everything that we can, perform-wise, but enjoy the day.”

Kane Williamson’s side came into this knockout game on the back of consecutive group stage defeats to Pakistan, Australia and England - their solid start to the tournament however was enough to narrowly secure a place in the knockout stages.

The captain had always insisted there was no panic in the camp and the team are now at Lord’s and a final date with England.

“We can beat anybody when we turn up,” said Williamson. “We are looking forward to the challenge, it’s a very special moment to play in a World Cup final, especially at Lord’s.

“We want to reflect on the good things we did in the match against India and the things we want to improve on. We are just enjoying our cricket and it’s nice to be getting on a bus to London, rather than flying home. It’s been an enjoyable ride, but the feet are on the ground and we look forward to our next challenge,” he said. New Zealand are playing in their second consecutive World Cup final having met Australia in 2015 at Melbourne and lost. Sunday is another opportunity for them to put that record straight by winning the World Cup.

New Zealand’s spearhead Trent Boult believes the pain of 2015 will drive them to glory. “It would mean everything (to win the tournament). To fall short against Australia in 2015, it still hurts to talk about it. We have got another chance and are just more excited about being on that stage. It doesn’t get bigger than that.”

With both teams having excellent opening pairs – England Woakes and Archer and New Zealand - Boult and Henry, the fate of the final is more likely to be defined by the first 10 overs. The Black Caps have the edge over England in ODIs with 43 wins to the hosts’ 41 while two were tied and four were no-results.

They have met twice at Lord’s and England lost on both occasions. The teams are equally matched on performance with England having a 69 percent win rate in ODIs since 2018 while New Zealand have won 64 percent. 

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