Finally, after a gap of 23 years, we will have a first-time winner of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Sri Lanka did it in 1996; who will do it this time around? Sunday will see the ultimate showdown of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 taking place at the Lords, the Mecca of Cricket. We look ahead at the most exciting clash in this fabulous #SummerOfSports.
For the Kiwis, a lot would depend on Captain Kane Williamson’s performance with the bat. He’s been the only batsman to have scored runs with any degree of consistency. Ross Taylor, after his outing against India, is hopefully back in form. If the openers can give them a good start, they could mount a formidable challenge for England’s big-hitting batsmen. But it’s with their bowlers that they would ideally want to hit England where it hurts them the most – their top order.
Jason Roy is red-hot at the moment. And so is Jonny Bairstow! Together, perhaps they have been the most consistent opening pair in the ICC CWC 2019. No total is safe if there is a Roy-Bairstow show going on! Their rousing starts have helped the middle-order to score big. The likes of Ben Stokes, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler are devastating when they have the license to fire big. It was amply clear from their semi-final annihilation of the Aussies that a good opening stand brings out the best from the English middle-order.
There is very little to choose between the two bowling units. Matt Henry, Tim Southee and Trent Boult can make the ball talk, especially if there is help from the pitch. Similarly, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer can make the opposition batsmen hop. Mitchell Santner has kept it tight in the middle overs and so has Adil Rashid, albeit with different methods. Rashid goes aggressively for wickets whereas Santner chokes the batsmen with accuracy.
The English team, however, have a surfeit of riches when it comes to all-rounders. Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali, on their day, can win a match with either bat or ball. The Kiwis only have James Neesham and Colin De Grandhomme who, in all fairness, are perhaps more of the bits-and-pieces variety.
The Kiwis, however, can boast of a superior fielding unit. Every player in their team is capable of pouching brilliant catches and stopping a few runs in the field. The English fielding has, on the other hand, faltered at crucial junctures in the tournament.
Both teams are evenly matched. In the end, it might boil down to who can hold their nerves. Both sides haven’t had the best in the finals of ICC events. Will England become the 3rd team after India (2011) and Australia (2015) to win the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 as the host nation? Or will New Zealand be able to shun the demons of their ICC Cricket World Cup 2015’s loss to Australia?