New Zealand have surprised many with their amazing run to the finals of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. The Kane Williamson led-side were the underdogs against India in the semi-final but managed to shock the Men in Blue and trump them by 18 runs to reach the final stage. Before the semis, the Kiwis were on a three-match losing streak but uplifted their performance at crucial stage to upset the Indian team.
They will again be the underdogs against England and a similar display at Lord’s versus the hosts could land the Kiwis their first-ever world title.
Before the final, let’s take a look at their likely XI for this clash:-
The opening batsmen have been New Zealand’s Achilles’ heel in the World Cup. Henry Nicholls has been poor in the tournament so far as he amassed just 34 runs in 3 matches at an average of just 13. So it looks likely that the Kiwis might recall Munro for the final.
There was talk of dropping Guptill before the India clash in the semi-final. New Zealand persisted with him and it reaped rewards (not while batting). Guptill inflicted a match-winning run-out of MS Dhoni which virtually confirmed New Zealand’s participation in the final. Although he was dismissed for just 1 but that run-out might have saved Guptill’s place in the playing XI.
He was been New Zealand’s saviour in the World Cup as the skipper had to play in the first five overs in most of the matches. He has scored 548 runs at this tournament at an impressive average of 91.33 and New Zealand would hope for another big innings from their captain.
It has been a mediocre tournament for Ross Taylor as he has just 335 runs at an average of 41.87 in 8 innings so far. The Kiwis would hope the experienced batsman would have saved his best for the last.
With 213 runs and 12 wickets, Jimmy Neesham has justified his all-rounder’s tag in the World Cup. He has taken important wickets in the tournament while his innings against Pakistan will be remembered for a long time.
Colin de Grandhomme
While Neesham has shined, Colin de Grandhomme has taken a back seat. His productivity has been a little low in England with just 5 wickets with the ball in hand. While batting also, Grandhomme has scored runs at an average of just 24.
Big things were expected from Tom Latham but he has disappointed big time in the World Cup. He has managed just 108 runs at an average of just 15.42. Still Kiwis are likely to persist with a winning combination in the final.
The no. 1 spinner in New Zealand ranks, Mitchell Santner has quietly continued to produce the goods for his country. Santner has just 6 wickets but has been important in the middle overs where the Kiwis have needed someone to stop the opposition run flow.
The hero of the semi-final has gone on to establish his place in the playing XI. He has 13 wickets in the World Cup and would look like to add to his tally in the final against England.
New Zealand’s most successful bowler in the 2019 World Cup, Trent Boult has been lethal in his opening spell. Boult will look to lead his country to a world title in London with another wicket-taking spell against England.
It has been a coming-out party for Lockie Ferguson. The right-hand pacer has established his name in the World Cup with fiery opening spells and economical death overs. He is just one wicket behind Boult in the list but England batsmen will be wary of the threat provided by Ferguson.