World Cup 2019: England favourites, but NZ can't be underestimated

Updated: Jul 14, 2019, 11:29 IST | Santosh Suri

With the way the current England team has been playing aggressive and fearless brand of white ball cricket has made the experts believe that it is finally coming home

World Cup 2019: England favourites, but NZ can't be underestimated
New Zealand players indulge in a game of football during a training session at Lord's in London on Saturday. Pic /AFP

London: July 30, 1966 is the most revered date in England's sporting history. On that day England won their only Football World Cup beating Germany in the final at Wembley, with Queen Elizabeth handing over the Jules Rimet Trophy to skipper Bobby Moore. Fifty-three years later, just a few miles from Wembley, at Lord's the England cricket team, led by Eoin Morgan, have a tryst with destiny when they take on New Zealand in the World Cup final today.

It's not that England are playing their first World Cup final. In fact this is their fourth. But the difference is that for the first time they are the overwhelming favourites to lift the trophy. In 1979, they were outplayed by West Indies at Lord's. In 1987 at Kolkata they fell short after Mike Gatting played an unwarranted reverse sweep and perished at the wrong time. And in the 1992 final at MCG, it was Imran Khan & Co who had outplayed them in the final.

With the way the current England team has been playing aggressive and fearless brand of white ball cricket has made the experts believe that it is "finally coming home." But there is no way anyone can underestimate New Zealand, who have already shown that they are tough nuts to crack after their performance in the semi-final against India. They have the wherewithal to beat any team on their day and just because they have been under-achievers on the world stage does not make them any lesser than the England team.

All the captains have been saying from Day One that the team that play better on the day will emerge the winner, and so it will be in the final today. The teams will have to bring their A-Game to the high-voltage clash, and the one who handles the pressure and nerves is more likely to emerge the victor. It may be clichéd, but holds good every time.

The thing going for England is that they have the momentum. After being on the brink of elimination, they have won three games with solid performance, with their mercurial opening batsman Jason Roy leading the charge.

On the other hand, New Zealand, who had lost the final to Australia at the MCG in 2015, have been too reliant on their skipper Kane Williamson, and it's time for the rest of the batsmen, especially Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor to come to the party.

With the Lord's pitch, despite a tinge of green, expected to be a belter, the role of the bowlers will be crucial. The bowling units of both sides had a very good outing in their respective semi-finals. Thus it will be Trent Boult, Matt Henry, Ferguson trying to blast away the England batsmen and Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood will be at the Kiwis batters.

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