The World Cup final is just a few hours away and two of the most deserving teams in the world will be battling in the grand finale for the coveted trophy. Both the teams New Zealand and England played like Champions in their Semi-Finals, so we can all look forward to a final that can be tough, competitive and above all, interesting. Let’s analyze the two teams before the big match so as to understand which team will have a better chance of lifting the cup, and ruling the world for the next three years.
World Ranking: Number 1
World Cup Title: None
World Cup Final: Fourth appearance
Last Appearance in Final: 1992
England proved to be the most formidable side in this World Cup as they batted, bowled and fielding like a unit. Yes, they did face some hiccups during the mega event but they came back to win back to back matches to reach the last four. They outclassed the Defending Champions Australia in the Semi-Final and are now just one step away from what could be their first ever World Cup victory.
Team: New Zealand
World Ranking: Number 3
World Cup Title: None
World Cup Final: Second appearance
Last Appearance in Final: 2015
If Cricket fans are asked to pick one team from all Test playing nations that is both competitive and full of Sportsman Spirit, then 99% of the people would pick New Zealand. The Black Caps are not just the most hardworking Cricket team, they are also the most disciplined side in the World. It is that discipline both on and off the field that makes them nearly invincible whenever they get the chance to play in a mega event. They have qualified for the Semi-Finals of the World Cup on number of occasions but this is only their second World Cup final, the last being in 2015 where they lost to a stronger Australian side. This time, they have England as their opponents in the grand finale, a team against which they have a great record in the mega event.
World Cup Record:
Total Matches: 9
New Zealand won: 5
England won: 4
The most important part about the two teams’ head to head record is that Kiwis have won five matches and England, four. Their last encounter in 2019 ended in England’s win but the last four before that, including the one in 1992 were New Zealand victories. England won only the first three matches that were played in the first three editions of the World Cup, before their win last week. This means that ever since the introduction of white balls in the game, England have defeated the Kiwis once while the match ended in Black Caps favor on four occasions, with the other victory happening in 1983, in England.
A look at the best performers:
Both England and New Zealand qualified for the final of the World Cup, and it is because they both played like a team, without depending on the talents of one or two players. Let’s analyze their best performers ahead of the big match to understand which player could be vital to the success of their team:
Joe Root – England
He is one of the best batsmen, England has produced in recent years and has proved his worth in the World Cup by scoring 549 runs at an average of nearly 69, at a strike rate of nearly 93 with the help of two centuries and three fifties. One hopes he continues the good work in the grand finale and helps his side win the only trophy they haven’t won so far.
Jonny Bairstow – England
You don’t get better batsmen than Jonny Bairstow who can instill fear in the minds of the opposition with their hard-hitting. So far he has scored 496 runs in the World Cup at an average of 49.6, at a strike rate of nearly 96 and with the help of 4 scores over 50, including two centuries.
Jason Roy – England
He has been instrumental in England’s campaign; his explosive starts have helped the hosts immensely. His importance can be judged from the fact that England lost the matches he missed due to injury. Thankfully, he is back to his best and would be willing to add to his 426 runs at an average of 71, at a strike rate of 117 as well as to his one hundred and a fifty.
Eoin Morgan – England
If Eoin Morgan could bat the way he did against Afghanistan in the World Cup, New Zealand will have no chance but to go back as runners-up, again. In his 9 innings, he has amassed 362 runs at an average of 45, a strike rate of 116 with the help of one century and one fifty for his team. The English Captain has also hit as many as 22 sixes throughout the World Cup which is more than the combined sixes by the Black Caps.
Ben Stokes – England
And then there is Ben Stokes who has proved his mettle as an all-rounder in the class of Ian Botham. He takes blinders at the boundary that no one dares to attempt, he stays at the wicket when the best batsmen in the side are not performing and takes wickets whenever there is a dangerous partnership developing. He may have taken just 7 wickets in the World Cup but his three catches and 381 runs at an average of 54, at a strike rate of 95 and with the help of four fifties is better than many all-rounders in the mega event.
Jofra Archer – England
It would have been terrible for England had Jofra Archer not been selected for the World Cup; he wasn’t part of the initial squad until he impressed all with his bowling against Pakistan in the five-match series. He then proved his selection right by dismissing as many as 19 batsmen throughout tournament and terrorizing others with his express fast bowling. He may not have taken more than 3 wickets in a match but when you take wickets at an average of 22 and at an economy rate of 4.61, then nothing matters.
Mark Wood – England
Fast bowlers hunt in pairs and Mark Wood proved to be the hunting partner of Jofra Archer. He missed just one match of the tournament for England but on the list of wicket takers he so far has 17 victims to his name, at a strike rate of 24.35 and at an economy rate of 5.19 in a tournament where teams are scoring in excess of 350!
Kane Williamson – New Zealand
Call him Captain Cool or the Man with a Plan, Kane Williamson is undoubtedly the best batsman to Captain New Zealand. Under him, the team looked different, willing to win matches that others would have conceded and above all, play it all fairly. Whenever the chips were down for his team, he delivered throughout the World Cup, and his 548 runs at an average of 91, a strike rate of 76 with the help of two fifties and two centuries proves that he is one of the best things to happen this World Cup.
Ross Taylor – New Zealand
He has been around for a long time and he uses his experience as his super power. That’s Ross Taylor for you who has scored 335 runs at an average of 42, a strike rate of 77 with the help of 3 fifties this World Cup. His go-slow approach in the World Cup was criticized by all but it won the Black Caps a place in the final, as he knew how to pitch would behave when no one else did.
Lockie Ferguson – New Zealand
When a bowler takes just 8 matches to end up as his team’s leading strike bowler, then that bowler must be an exceptional talent. Lockie Ferguson’s 18 wickets at less than 20, and at an economy rate of less than 5 makes him the kind of bowler every team wants in their side at the World Cup. He has been instrumental in his team’s success and one hopes he manages to repeat the heroics in the grand finale as well.
Trent Boult – New Zealand
He was always supposed to head the Kiwi bowling attack in the World Cup but the way Trent Boult has bowled throughout the mega event has been incredible. He has taken 17 wickets in his 9 matches including a 4/30 at an average of 24.23, and economy rate of 4.62. It was his catch in the match against the West Indies that gave his side two crucial points, otherwise who knows Pakistan might have been in the last four instead of the Black Caps.
Matt Henry – New Zealand
And then there was Matt Henry who may have taken 13 wickets for his side in 8 matches, but he has delivered amazing bowling skills for his team. He has taken a four wicket haul during the event has an economy rate of five runs per over and can destroy any batting line up, something he has shown during the mega event.
The grand finale between New Zealand and England will be interesting because both teams have had a record of being runners-up in a World Cup final – England on three previous occasions and the Kiwis just once. Whoever wins the match will be named the Champion for the first time and we want it to the team that gives the better performance on the D-Day. Be it England or New Zealand, it should be the win of dedication, preparation and being superior on the given day!