The sacred aisle leading to the age-old greens of the Lord’s Cricket ground would be pounding with excitement as England and New Zealand fight it out for the biggest prize of the game on Sunday. Both the teams have had a fair share of upsets during the ICC World Cup 2019, but made strong comebacks and defeated all the odds to earn a spot in the final.
New Zealand, who looked one of the most balanced units at the start, lost their momentum during the closing phases of the league stage. They lost their last three league matches but qualified for the semis on the virtue of a better run-rate. Facing India in the semi-final, the odds were heavily against them. The Kane Williamson-led side, however, not only defeated Virat Kohli & Co. but dismantled the Indian unit completely. With the victory over India, each Kiwi player now seems to have found his lost self as the team is again looking a balanced and lethal unit ahead of the final.
For England, it has been nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. While they were considered the outright favourites to win the tournament, three defeats in the league stages threatened to end their campaign before the semis. The Eoin Morgan-led side then registered straight victories in three do-or-die matches to book their position in the final. Facing an overpowered Australia in the semis, England played a different brand of cricket. Asked to bowl first, the English bowlers dismissed the Australians for a meagre 223 which the batsmen chased with eight wickets in hand.
Both the teams should come out all guns blazing and the fans can fancy a thriller at the Lord’s. Of the 22 taking the field, some would be more sought after, owing to their performance in this year’s showpiece event. Here’s a list of all the players who could create an impact in today’s game.
1. Jonny Bairstow
Bairstow took some time to find his full flow in the initial days of the tournament. But got his prime touch back just when his team required him to. Scoring 496 runs, along with two centuries, the wicket-keeper batsman has been giving England flying starts for the past few matches and is expected to do the same today.
2. Jason Roy
Bairstow’s partner in crime, Jason Roy is doing exactly what his partner at the other end does. Look, hit, give the team a flying start, repeat. He missed few matches in between due to injury, but owing to England’s three defeats he was forced to make a comeback. He showed no lack of intent in his play and continued from where he left before the injury.
3. Trent Boult
He might have not taken as much wicket as his captain would have wanted, but his fiery spells in the first powerplay have forced batsmen to stay quiet. Such is his impact that the batsmen tend not to make any mistake against him and just see off his overs. Failing to his Boult, the batsmen are forced to take risks against other bowlers and give away their wickets. Also, his spell against India won New Zealand the match and he would hope to give his team a similar start today.
4. Kane Williamson
The mainstay in New Zealand’s batting, Kane Williamson has done exactly what he is known for – to carry the innings on his shoulder. Getting all his experience and technical abilities on display, the Kiwi skipper has been their highest scorer. He has averted many crunch situations for his team as he batted all the way saw off the dangers all by his own. He also has the highest average of ICC World Cup 2019 with 91.33.
5. Jofra Archer
Archer has been a constant performer for the hosts and has also emerged as their highest wicket-taker of this tournament. Getting the new ball to move both ways he has created genuine for the batsmen and his captain Eoin Morgan would want him to do the same for another time at Lord’s on Sunday. He has taken 19 wickets so far with an average of 22.05.