World Cup 2019 final: England vs New Zealand– five players to keep an eye on
The World Cup 2019 is drawing to a close after six weeks of entertaining cricket. There is only one match remaining, England vs New Zealand, Sunday’s big final. It is guaranteed to be a high-quality match between two great teams. England are the overwhelming favorites, but can the gutsy Kiwis stage an upset?
There are plenty of world class players on both sides. Let us look at five of those players who might make the difference on Sunday.
#5 Lockie Ferguson
Lockie Ferguson is a jack of all trades: he can bowl bouncers, yorkers and slower balls at will, and has taken 18 wickets at the World Cup so far, bamboozling the batsmen with his cunning variations.
The 28-year-old missed only one group match (against England) and has been one of their most prolific bowlers. New Zealand’s bowlers lacked teeth in Ferguson’s absence and were pummeled for 160 runs by the England openers (eventually losing by 119 runs). New Zealand will want to make amends for their loss on Sunday and Ferguson may well have a say in it.
#4 Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson might become the biggest stumbling block in England’s march to the World Cup title. If there is one man who can win the final for New Zealand, it’s Williamson.
Williamson (548 runs, average of 91.33, two hundreds) has so far enjoyed an excellent tournament. He scored back-to-back centuries against South Africa and the West Indies under enormous pressure. If he scores a third century in Sunday’s final, New Zealand may well spoil England’s party.
#3 Chris Woakes
Chris Woakes is a man who goes about his work quietly. He has gone about his business efficiently in this World Cup but has been overshadowed, to an extent, by the pace sensations Jofra Archer and Mark Wood.
But Thursday’s semi-final versus Australia was Woakes’s time to shine. Archer took the first wicket (Aaron Finch, trapped lbw) but Woakes captured the next two crucial scalps. David Warner was caught at slip, surprised by extra bounce, and Peter Handscomb was bowled by a magnificent in-swinger. Australia were left struggling at 14-3. If Woakes can make early inroads in Sunday’s final, England will have one hand on the trophy. He is a capable late-order batsman as well.
#2 Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler can change the momentum of Sunday’s final single-handedly. Buttler has shown time after time that he’s one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket and can unleash the full might of his bat on Sunday.
But the 28-year-old has experienced a below-par group phase. He has scored only 253 runs in eight innings at an average of 31.62. But class is permanent and form is temporary, as the saying goes.
Buttler is due for a big innings. If it comes on Sunday, everybody will be glued to their seats, mesmerized by the sight of one of cricket’s best batsmen in full flow.
#1 Jason Roy
If New Zealand wants to restrict England at Lord's on Sunday, they must dismantle the fort that is Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow.
Statistically, the pair is the best opening combination ever. They have scored 2,310 runs in 36 innings batting together and have compiled four century partnerships at the World Cup 2019, so far.
Roy, especially in the last three matches, dazzled onlookers with his exciting stroke-play. He scored a half-century in each of these innings (including 60 versus New Zealand). Roy was ruthless against the Kiwi’s as England raced to a great start at 123-0. He will be licking his lips at the opportunity to take on New Zealand once again.
Also read - World cup all-time recordsPublished 13 Jul 2019, 22:20 IST