Two teams battling hard for their maiden World Cup title and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that hosts England, who were termed as the favourites, have gained the upper hand in the first half of the big finale encounter against New Zealand at the Lord’s. The England bowlers came out all guns blazing, took advantage of the overcast conditions early on and eventually restricted the Kiwis within a par first innings total. Chris Woakes and Liam Plunkett bowled remarkably well to keep the New Zealand team in check.
Guptill’s poor form with the bat continues
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won the toss and in a surprising decision opted to bat first. He reckoned that the decision was pretty tough and confusing due to the overcast conditions, but now they have a job in hand. The two Kiwi openers, Martin Guptill and Henry Nicholls, who haven’t been at their best in the tournament so far, had a big responsibility on their shoulders. Guptill went for the attacking approach from the very first over, but after scoring 19 runs off 18 balls, he got trapped in front of the wicket off an in-swinging delivery bowled by Chris Woakes in the seventh over.
Plunkett’s double strike leaves Kiwis reeling
After his dismissal, the pair of Nicholls and the in-form Williamson got together to resurrect the New Zealand innings. Both the batters showed remarkable composure and application to tackle the quality English bowling attack. They stitched an excellent partnership of 74 runs before England seamer Liam Plunkett brought a big moment in the game by picking up the prized scalp of Williamson in the 23rd over.
At the other end, Nicholls kept battling hard and notched up his maiden World Cup half-century that too in the big final. However, Plunkett once again dented the Kiwis by removing Nicholls in his sixth over of the match. Nicholls got out after scoring a vital 77-ball 55, leaving New Zealand at 118 for 3. Ross Taylor also got out pretty soon after scoring just 15 runs and this brought the Kiwis from 103/1 to crumbling at 141/4.
New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham came to bat at number six and started playing some aggressive cricket from the word go. England skipper Eoin Morgan brought Plunkett back for his final spell and he instantly provided his skipper with the crucial breakthrough in the form of Neesham’s wicket. Tom Latham battled hard at the end, however, he failed to play some big shots and got out after scoring 47 runs off 56 balls.
The England bowlers kept the pressure going with picking crucial wickets in the final few overs and restricted New Zealand to 241 for 8 in 50 overs. For England, Woakes and Plunkett picked up three wickets each. The duo of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood also bowled well to finish with a scalp each.
New Zealand 241/8 in 50 overs (Henry Nicholls-55, Tom Latham-47; Chris Woakes 3/37, Liam Plunkett 3/42) vs England.