New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) Playing in front of home crowd and familiarity with the conditions make England the favourites to win the World Cup for the first time when they take on New Zealand at the Lord’s on Sunday.
However, the hosts cannot afford to be complacent, as the spirited Kiwis will go out all guns blazing to lay their hands on the coveted title for the first since the inception of the showpiece event in 1975.
On the eve of the final, IANS takes a look at both the teams as the world waits with baited breath to usher in a first time winner.
Strength: The Kiwis will once again look up to their in-form skipper Kane Williamson to do the bulwark with the bat. With 548 runs in 8 innings, Williamson is the fifth highest run-getter in the ongoing World Cup and will surely look to build on his consistent form. New Zealand’s biggest strength is their fiery pace bowling line-up led by Lockie Ferguson and Trent Boult, who have picked up 18 and 17 wickets, respectively, in the tournament so far.
Weakness: New Zealand’s batting is their weakness. Besides Williamson, none of the other batsmen have scored consistently. They also have a habit of choking under pressure.
Opportunity: Riding on their pace bowling battery and Williamson’s imperious batting repertoire, New Zealand can dream of winning their first World Cup provided the others join the party.
Threat: Kiwis’ ability to handle pressure at the biggest stage in world cricket will be tested. Also, the team lacks experience as it comprises many players who are playing in the World Cup for the first time.
Strength: England’s opening pair of Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy have wreaked havoc and they can take the game away from the opposition in a matter of 20 overs. England’s bowling with the effervescent Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood also seem potent. Ben Stokes has been brilliant so far and the all-rounder will look to bring his best to the table in the crucial clash.
Weakness: England have failed to gun down big totals and their defeats in the group stages are testimony to that. They have shown signs of crumbling under pressure.
Opportunity: This is England’s best chance to win the World Cup and that too, at home. They have a dream team and blossom in almost every department.
Threat: The burden of expectations can lead to their downfall. Keeping a cool head and not getting carried away will be a challenge.