Hosts England will face New Zealand in the final of the 2019 Cricket World Cup at Lord’s on Sunday. For the first time in 23 years, cricket will witness a brand new world champion. New Zealand were the runners up in 2015 and booked their place in the 2019 final with a stunning win against India at Manchester on July 10. On Thursday (July 11), England steamrolled defending champions Australia to enter the title-round.
Here’s a look at the players who will be key to their team’s chances -
England feared the worst when Roy tore his left hamstring against West Indies on June 14. He missed the win over Afghanistan and successive defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia. But in two vital games on his return to the side, the 28-year-old hit a couple of 60s - against India and New Zealand - and a blistering 85 against Australia that helped England reach their first World Cup final since 1992. If England have a player who doesn't go with the flow of the game but instead tries to create his own, it is Roy.
The supercool Kiwi captain played a pivotal role in New Zealand’s league stage victories, but also didn’t let pressure get to his side after the losses to Pakistan, Australia and England. Williamson & Co showed great mental strength to defeat India by 18 runs in their semi-final clash at Old Trafford this week. The victory in what was a gripping but bizarre match played over two days was one of New Zealand’s best in the tournament’s history.
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The 28-year-old Williamson obviously doesn't have the superstar appeal of someone like Virat Kohli or Eoin Morgan, but he remains one of the finest batsmen across formats.
He has scored 548 runs at an average of 91.33 in this World Cup, but more than that, his composure as a leader has been outstanding.
It was four years ago when the Barbados-born Archer moved to England having been frustrated by lack of opportunities with West Indies.
Back then, he wasn’t even in England’s plans for the 2019 World Cup. Had the previous residency requirements stayed in place, Archer currently would have likely been playing for Sussex.
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Instead, the rules were relaxed and Archer is England’s highest wicket-taker (19 wickets in 10 games) so far in the tournament and a real threat to top order batsmen with his pace and movement.
His impact was felt in England’s opener against South Africa - a 90mph short delivery crashing into Hashim Amla's helmet grill in the fourth over, forcing the opener off retired hurt, though he would later return.
Come Sunday, he would certainly be England’s “X-factor” if they are to lift their maiden title in 50-over cricket.
His high-speed approach has brought another dimension to the New Zealand bowling attack which consists of Trent Boult and Matt Henry - both of who rely on swing.
Ferguson is New Zealand's leading wicket-taker with 18 scalps in the tournament, one more than Boult.
While the fastest bowlers are generally entrusted with the new ball, Ferguson has never opened the bowling so far in his 34 ODIs. Instead, he is known to get the job done during the middle overs.
It's not easy to get rid of England’s top order, but even when a side manages it, it runs into Ben Stokes - someone who is happy to play the waiting game and accelerate when required.
Though he is the only player in the top six without a century to his name this World Cup, there have been four half-centuries in his 381 runs at an average of 54.42. Also, he has grabbed seven wickets at a superb economy rate of 4.65.
The 28-year-old is still trying to restore his reputation that took a hit 18 months ago when he was involved in a brawl in Bristol, and a matured show in Sunday’s final at Lord’s could mark the beginning of a “second innings” of the England all-rounder.
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