So here we are then. After many permutations, combinationd and predictions, England are New Zealand are the two sides that will battle it out for the World Cup 2019 crown at Lord's on Sunday. The hosts making it to the summit clash was very much on expected lines even as New Zealand continue to shine with their methodical ways.
Undoubtedly, England begin as favourites. The last time these two sides met, the hosts completely bulldozed the Kiwis en route to a crushing 119-rum triumph. It was their semi-final victory against Australia that should be viewed as ever more ominous by New Zealand. Eoin Morgan's team produced a clinical performance to reiterate their favourites tag all over again.
Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes combined to have Australia reeling at 14 for 3. In the middle overs, Adil Rashid proved his worth by claiming key wickets and scuttling the fight back by the Aussies. Once the bowlers did their job, Jason Roy took over and with his aggressive hitting ensured the Aussies never had a finger in the match, let alone a foot. His partnership with Jonny Bairstow, who played second fiddle to Roy, once again set things in motion for England. Impressively for them, captain Eoin Morgan and Joe Root continued to attack and stamped their authority on what was a complete performance.
New Zealand know they will have their task cut out in the final. They have been here once before, in 2015, and failed miserably. It is not everytime that one reaches a World Cup final, so the Kiwis must make the most of this grand opportunity. The clincal effort to keep India down in the semi-finals should serve as a high dose of confidence. The need to build on it come Sunday.
The underdogs have a highly competent bowling attack led by Trent Boult. The left-arm seamer was excellent against India, taking out the big gun Virat Kohli. However, Matt Henry was the wrecker-in-chief with three wickets, including the massive one of Rohit Sharma. Things will not easy against a rampant Roy and co though.
Batting is one area that will definitely concern the finalists. Take away Kane Williamson's serene batting and Ross Taylor's effort in a couple of matches, including the semis, and they have struggled in a big way. The major cause of worry will be the form of Martin Guptill, who has been a walking wicket. His run out of MS Dhoni turned around the semi-finals. Can he turnaround his form on the biggest stages of all?
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, Jimmy Neesham
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
--By A Cricket Correspondent