And then there were two. The Cricket World Cup has just one match to go, with England and New Zealand fighting their way into the big dance at Lord’s. Here to tell you who is winning what are The Roar’s expert tipping panel.
After 45 round robin matches, the two semi-finals might have dished up the best of both worlds at this tournament, but the first of those was an absolute off the rails surprise.
New Zealand had limped all the way into the finals. They never really looked like they were going to come away with anything from their match from India, and it looked even worse after they won the toss and only scored 239.
In the two-day one-day match, India’s chase spluttered and faltered though, before they eventually fell short, with a classic Martin Guptill run out confirming a spot in the final for the Black Caps.
In a polar opposite semi-final on the other side of the coin, England had their absolute way with Australia, dominating the Australians with absolute ease.
They knocked them over with the ball and chased easily with the bat, putting one one of the most dominant performances we have seen all tournament long.
And now, the World Cup is destined to have a new name on it, as England and New Zealand clash for the ultimate honour.
In terms of tipping, Dan Liebke was the only one to get two out of two in the semi-finals, while Daniel Jeffrey is now the only person who can tie with leader David Schout.
The deadline to have your tips as part of The Crowd’s figures (by using the form below) is at 6pm (AEST) on Sunday evening ahead of the final.
Tip: New Zealand
Some say you need to lose one to win one, and I think this will be the case for New Zealand in their second consecutive World Cup Final.
The Kiwis still have five players who were part of the losing final in 2015 – Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Martin Guptill.
Around them, they have some high-quality ODI cricketers in top form in Lockie Ferguson, Jimmy Neesham and Mitchell Santner. This should be a very close match, with Williamson and Boult getting the Kiwis their first World Cup.
For England, years of planning comes down to winning the one game they’ve craved for so long. After the horror show of 2015, they started afresh in ODI cricket and have become the world’s best. Fittingly, they take their place in the final and should beat a gallant New Zealand who, in the end, lack the batting depth to challenge on the biggest stage.
Well, England are going to win, surely.
They’ve been the best ODI team in the world for ages, have overcome a mid-tournament blip and with Jason Roy back at the top of the order look in fearsome form.
And while it would be hilariously good fun for Kane Williamson’s men to knock them over, I suspect they may have already fulfilled their quota of hilariously good fun wins for the tournament when they beat India in the semi-final.
What contrasting finalists we have: New Zealand, who scraped through to the knockout stage on net run-rate, and England, pre-tournament favourites who are at home and coming off the back of thumping Australia in the semis.
There’s only one winner, right?
Much as I’d love to see the Black Caps win this final, I can’t see it happening (although I said something similar about them last game, so take that with an entire shaker of salt).
Both sides have bowling attacks roughly on par with the other. Mitchell Santner is more economical than Adil Rashid, but the hosts have better pace depth through their quartet of Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett.
New Zealand’s batting remains heavily reliant on Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, both of whom were superb against India. Even if they repeat the performance at Lord’s, they’ll need a proper contribution from Martin Guptill to get a total out of England’s reach.
With Jason Roy in excellent form, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root batting well around him, and Jos Buttler still yet to put in a game-winning innings this World Cup, I can’t go past England in the final.
Tip: New Zealand
Yeah, yeah, England are favourites. Here’s how much I care…
None. Absolutely zero.
I tipped New Zealand before this tournament started to take out the whole thing, and apart from going so cold on them I cashed out my bet (yeah, who is the idiot now) when they were heading into that semi-final against India, I’ve always been confident in the ability of the Black Caps.
Their semi-final effort was impressive. They beat India and didn’t play at their best. If Martin Guptill can come good, then the quality of Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson will ensure they get enough runs.
Even if he doesn’t come good, then the middle order combined with Trent Boult, Mitchell Santner and whatever combination of bowlers they go with should work nicely. Add to that, the slope of Lord’s, natural variation and swinging conditions should suit their attack down to the ground.
England’s only game at Lord’s this campaign was a loss to Australia, and while they hit form at the back end, they are primed to mess it up in front of a big home audience and the pressure of a nation on their shoulders.
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