England is the host nation and the pre-tournament favorite while New Zealand is the regular dark horse in any tournament. In all honesty, many of us were expecting India and Australia to be lining up in Sunday’s final but winning a World Cup is all about peaking at the right time.
For the neutrals, it should be an entertaining game at Lord’s but who should we be backing ahead of the toss?
England goes into Sunday’s final as the obvious favorite but they look a little short at odds of -315. New Zealand will appeal to a lot of punters at their price of +250 but what do they need to do in order to upset the market?
As always, there are some key elements to this game but above all, the Kiwis have to stop some considerable momentum built up by the host nation.
If New Zealand is to stand any chance of winning, then they must split the opening pair of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow before they do too much damage. This is the most prolific partnership in world cricket right now and the two put on yet another century partnership in Thursday’s semifinal against the Aussies.
Trent Boult holds the key here. The left-armer has a great record when bowling inswing to right-handers and he is the Kiwis’ chief weapon against the English top order.
England’s opening pair is in top form but we can’t say the same for their Kiwi counterparts. Martin Guptill can barely “buy a run” and may be keeping his place because of some exceptional fielding. Against India, Guptill made just one and while that’s been typical of his World Cup, he has a good record against England and the hosts will be aware of the threat he poses.
The two batters showing the best form are Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor and England will hope to split the openers and get into these two early. England’s Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes are an impressive new ball attack that complement each other well and they would like to have a few overs at Williamson and Taylor before the support bowlers come along.
Former cricketers and other observers seem to have mixed opinions when it comes to the subject of momentum. Some feel that it isn’t a particularly important factor but surely, to win a long tournament such as the World Cup, it’s all about peaking at the right time…
Of course, in any one-off final, anything can happen and if New Zealand can beat India, they can certainly continue and defeat England in Sunday’s final.
The toss can also be important with both sides likely to want to bat first and look to extend beyond 300. With that in mind, calling this game is tricky but based on their most recent performances, we have to look to England. The host nation stuttered in the middle of the group stages but their worst performances came when Jason Roy was out of the side through injury.
Roy and Bairstow are vital to England’s hopes but the home country looks to be the most logical bet to put a new name on the trophy this Sunday.