The sound of persistent rain greets me as I wake up this morning in England eagerly awaiting the Cricket World Cup Final 2019. England, the world number ones and strong favorites, meet New Zealand who are purposeful and resolute opponents. History will be made today as there will be a new name on the trophy. This is New Zealand’s second final after losing the previous final to Australia in Melbourne comprehensively by 7 wickets. As for England, it is their fourth final and their 1st since 1992.
England’s bold, exciting and brave brand of cricket has catapulted them to the world’s number one 50 over team from a position of 8th in 2015. A home final at Lord’s and being ranked as the number one team in the world, this presents England with their strongest opportunity of becoming World Champions. They have handled the pressure admirable knowing that defeat in their last 2 group games against India and New Zealand could have meant that an exit from the tournament before the semi-final stage. England’s last 3 wins have coincided with Jason Roy return from injury where 3 dominant scores of 50 plus have been the platform for emphatic wins. Talented, domineering and breathtaking, England’s batting has come to the World Cup party. Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy and Ben Stokes are finding fifties and hundreds easy to come by in the tournment. Jofra Archer’s silky 90 mph fast bowling has produced a healthy return of 19 wickets and he has been ably supported by fast seamers of Mark Wood and Chris Woakes who have taken 17 and 13 wickets respectively.
New Zealand are street wise opposition who in Kane Williamson have tactically intelligent captain who is one the best batsman in the world. Kane has been the spearhead of the New Zealand batting averaging an incredible 91.33 for the tournment. His productive and steady partnerships with Ross Taylor have been the main factor in New Zealand recording competitive scores throughout the tournament. The New Zealand openers have had a poor tournament especially the hard hitting and match winning Martin Guptill. The lightening quick and multi-talented Trent Boult who moves and swings the ball both ways has been outstanding with 17 wickets along with the fast seamers of Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry who have taken 19 and 13 wickets respectively. New Zealand are an outstanding fielding team, agile, quick and dynamic.
New Zealand are international cricket’s smallest nation by population, lack the financial might of England, Australia and India and boast a player pool much smaller than the big 3. They will be determined to prove everyone being a team than no one expects to get to the final let alone winning the competition.
My prediction –
England are very strong favourites however they find it difficult to perform well and win consistently at Lords in ODI cricket. The wicket is going to be green top and Lords will always provide movement both ways if the ball is put in the correct areas. A score of 240 will be competive and anything above will be a challenge. England will win a tight, nervy low scoring game on the basis of having more talented match winners with the bat and ball than New Zealand. May good cricket win the day…