Hosts England and New Zealand will clash in the 2019 World Cup final at Lord's on Sunday, July 14. While New Zealand beat favourites India to seal their final spot, England outshone Ashes rivals Australia by eight wickets to make it to the summit clash.
While England have the home advantage on paper, New Zealand look better prepared this time as opposed to four years back. As the teams prepare for the big battle, we take a look at some interesting stats and trivia around the World Cup finalists.
1. Asian stronghold loosens
This is the second consecutive World Cup final not to feature any Asian side. From 1992 to 2011, every final featured at least one Asian side.
2. New Zealand’s Surviving 6
Six members of the current New Zealand squad featured in the 2015 World Cup final that the Kiwis lost to Australia – Guptill, Williamson, Taylor, Boult, Southee, Henry. Tom Latham was in the squad but did not feature in the 2015 final.
3. Home Run
The last two World Cups have been won by the host nation -- India in 2011, and Australia in 2015. Going by that, England have a great chance of winning on Sunday. Incredibly, no host nation had won the World Cup from the inaugural edition in 1975 up until Dhoni lifted it in Mumbai.
4. That long back
March 25, 1992. The last time England featured in a World Cup final. Graham Gooch and Ian Botham were still active cricketers then while Richard Illingworth, who featured in that final was one of the umpires in this year’s India-New Zealand semi-final. England had also made it to the 1979 and 1987 World Cup finals, losing both.
5. Can Kane (up)Root Rohit?
Rohit Sharma (648) is still the leading run-scorer in World Cup 2019, but New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson and Joe Root have a change to overtake him in the final. Joe Root (549) needs exactly 100 runs to overtake the Indian opener while Williamson (548) needs 101. It would serve as an icing on the cake if they manage to achieve it and win the final for their respective teams.
6. England favourites, but history says…
New Zealand hold the edge when it comes to clashes against England in both normal ODIs as well as World Cup matches, although only just. They have a 43-41 win-loss record in regular ODIs, and 5-4 in the World Cups. England will be keen to draw level when it comes to World Cup encounters.
7. Awesome foursome
Not surprisingly, four bowlers who are likely to feature in the final are among the top 10 wicket-takers in this year’s edition. Jofra Archer (19), Lockie Ferguson (18), Trent Boult and Mark Wood (17 each).
8. Jonny Boy!
England opener Jonny Bairstow has scored a century in each of his last three ODI innings against New Zealand. Overall, he has 491 runs from seven innings against the Kiwis.
9. 1000 in World Cups
Ross Taylor (987) and Martin Guptill (976) need 13 and 24 runs respectively to complete 1000 runs in the World Cup. Only Stephen Fleming (1075) has done so before them for New Zealand.
10. Leading from the front
Williamson’s 548 runs are the joint-most by a captain in a World Cup so far. Mahela Jayawardene also made 548 runs as captain in 2007. It is also the most by a New Zealander, surpassing the 547 by Martin Guptill in the 2015 edition.
(Compiled by Renin Wilben)