World Cup 2019: England's roller-coster journey to the final
Labelled as hot favourites to lift the title, England marched into the finals of the World Cup 2019, the most premier cricketing event on the globe after beating Australia comprehensively by 8 wickets in the semi-final on Thursday. On the brink of creating history, England prepare for a shot at ultimate glory as they will face-off against New Zealand at the Mecca of cricket - Lord's - on Sunday, July 14th.
Ironically, the inventors of cricket, England have appeared in every edition of the Cricket World Cup to date, but have never won the competition. Their best performances came as losing finalists in 1979, 1987 and 1992.
The transformation of the England Cricket Team in the one-day format since a miserable performance in the 2015 edition has been absolutely incredible. Post the event, the English squad underwent a lot of chopping and changing to find the correct team balance, determined to create a turnaround in world cricket. It is worth mentioning that only four players who represented England in the 2015 edition were able to make it to the 2019 World Cup squad - captain Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes.
Course of development
Ameliorating considerably through the journey of progression, England brought about a refreshing flair to the way one-day cricket was being approached. The deadly duo of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow were provided with the license to imperiously domineer themselves at the top of the order, setting the tone up front against quality bowling oppositions. Joe Root is a player happily willing to play the key role of anchoring the innings solidly with elan. Skipper Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jos Butler and Moeen Ali follow through, ensuring that they capitalize substantially on the foundation laid by the top three in the most destructive fashion.
Glancing from the bowling perspective, the inclusion of Jofra Archer at the eleventh hour leading to the event strengthened the lethal pace battery comprising of Liam Plunkett, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood. Spin duo Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali have played a crucial role in the development of England as a one-day format powerhouse, shouldering the responsibility of providing vital breakthroughs during the middle overs.
Performance in the World Cup 2019
England's ride to the finals of the World Cup 2019 has been ebb and flow.
Stepping into the mega event with a revamped squad, England kick-started the ongoing edition with a flourish, beginning their campaign by thrashing the Proteas comfortably by a handsome difference of 104 runs.
England suffered a minor hiccup in their succeeding fixture losing unexpectedly to the unpredictable Pakistani side, falling short by 14 runs chasing down 348. Bouncing back from the defeat, England picked on momentum in the tournament winning their next three consecutive matches against relatively weaker rivals - Bangladesh, West Indies and Afghanistan.
Sri Lanka upset the hosts in the upcoming affair as the England batsmen were unsuccessful in chasing down a modest total of 232- courtesy a brilliant display of swing bowling by the veteran Lasith Malinga. England were put in another spot of bother as Australia handed them their third defeat of the campaign. The men in sky-blue were found tottering with 8 points in the table in 7 matches.
Opener Roy, who hit 153 in his last innings against Bangladesh, missed England's defeats against Sri Lanka and Australia with a torn hamstring. The exclusion of the opener affected England drastically as they failed to construct opening partnerships as earlier. James Vince, the back-up opener brought in as a replacement to fill in the massive shoes of Roy, never got going with scores of 0 and 8.
Hanging on by a thread, England needed to win both their remaining matches in order to progress to the semi-finals. England recouped to put things back on track as they triumphed over India and New Zealand in a do-or-die scenario, eventually qualifying through to the knockout phase.
The penultimate encounter
England confronted the Aussies in the semi-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 on Thursday at Edgbaston, Birmingham. Electing to bat first on a flat batting deck, Australia couldn't produce the goods as they were bundled out for a meagre score of 223 in 49 overs. England chased down the target hotfoot, propelled by a stirlingJason Roy blitz- 85 off just 65 deliveries.
The Final Showdown
Eoin Morgan and his men are on the verge of creating history, becoming the first England team to lift the prestigious trophy. A tough resilient New Zealand, led by talisman Kane Williamson awaits the hosts at Lord's. England seem to have an upper hand on the Black Caps, flooded with confidence, ready to assert their proposition.
Looking from the team combination perspective, England are pretty well settled. There's not much to worry for the hosts. Batsmen are in a great run of form with bowlers backing them up equally well. The fielding has been commendable throughout. England just need to focus on playing to their potential.
Batting woes concern the Kiwis. Heavily reliant on the skipper and veteran Ross Taylor, the remainder of the batting unit has failed completely, let alone a flash of brilliance here and there. Bowling is their forte. Wickets upfront are invaluable and is seemingly the lone method to put a brake on the merciless English onslaught.
Huffing and puffing along the way, England have at last entered the final. The hosts will know this is their best chance to lift the crown for the first time. Nerves aside, England would look to put up an outright team effort and get the hands on the coveted prize.
Also read – World cup winners list