New Zealand pacemen strike in World Cup final against England
MANCHESTER, (AFP): New Zealand’s seamers rocked England’s top order to revive the Black Caps’ hopes of a first World Cup triumph in Sunday’s final at Lord’s.
England, also biddding for a maiden crown, were 93 for four at the halfway stage of their innings against the 2015 runners-up.
That left them needing a further 149 runs in 25 overs to reach a victory target of 242 on a tricky pitch for their preferred free-flowing batting style.
Ben Stokes was seven not out and Jos Buttler unbeaten on five.
New Zealand paceman Trent Boult almost struck with the first ball of England’s chase when he appealed for lbw against Jason Roy, only for the in-form opener to survive after South African official Marais Erasmus’s original not out decision was upheld.
Roy, who made a blistering 85 in a comfortable semi-final win over reigning champions Australia, got England going with a straight-driven four off Matt Henry.
But New Zealand got the breakthrough they needed when Henry induced Roy, on 17, to edge a full-length delivery that just carried to wicketkeeper Tom Latham, leaving England 28-1 in the sixth over.
Roy and Jonny Bairstow, by average the best opening pair in one-day international history, had posted four consecutive century stands coming into the final.
New batsman Joe Root never looked comfortable while making seven off 30 balls. One delivery after charging and missing at Colin de Grandhomme, he chased a wide delivery in a bid to break the shackles and was caught behind to leave England 59-2.
Bairstow had enjoyed a huge reprieve on 18 when de Grandhomme dropped a routine caught-and-bowled chance but fast bowler Lockie Ferguson got Bairstow to play on for 36.
Jimmy Neesham then got in on the act, taking a wicket with his first ball, with England captain Eoin Morgan falling for just nine when an uppercut was brilliantly caught low down by Ferguson running in from point.
Morgan’s exit on his Middlesex home ground left England deep in trouble at 86-4.
– Plunkett strikes –
Earlier, fast bowler Liam Plunkett dismissed New Zealand captain and star batsman Kane Williamson for just 30 before removing established opener Henry Nicholls for an innings-best 55 in a return of 3-42 from his 10 overs.
Chris Woakes followed up with 3-37 as New Zealand finished on 241-8.
New Zealand successfully defended a total of 239 in their shock semi-final win over India, when they reduced one of the world’s strongest batting line-ups to 24-4, with Trent Boult and Matt Henry doing the damage.
Williamson chose to bat after winning the toss in overcast conditions and on a green pitch but opener Martin Guptill, the leading run-scorer at the 2015 World Cup, was lbw to Woakes for 19.
That left number three Williamson, who started the match with 548 runs in the tournament at an average of 91.33, having to mount yet another rescue mission.
But after putting on 74 for the second wicket with Nicholls, he fell when he edged a rising cross-seamer from Plunkett to wicketkeeper Buttler.
New Zealand found themselves 118-3 when Plunkett struck for the second time in 14 balls.
Nicholls, who had completed a 71-ball fifty, was out for 55 when he played on after being cramped for room by a Plunkett delivery that curved back into him.
New Zealand were now looking to senior batsman Ross Taylor to bail them out of trouble but he could only manage 15 before falling lbw to Mark Wood.
Latham defiantly hit Wood for six but his valuable 47 off 56 balls ended when he chipped a low Woakes full toss to mid-off.
Published Date: Sunday, July 14th, 2019 | 10:33 AM