World Cup 2019 Final : New Zealand win the toss and elect to bat first against England

New Zealand won the toss and elect to bat first against England on Sunday in the ICC World Cup 2019 final match scheduled to be played at Lord’s in England.

Today’s the big day for the branded as favourites team England and over-achievers team New Zealand. Recent history is on Black Caps’ side, but the weather may well help the bowlers early on.

The toss was delayed by a quarter of an hour (to 02.15pm PST), and so the match was delayed to start at 02.45pm PST. There was a sharp downpour this morning, and the groundstaff need a bit more time to dry the coin.

New Zealand have reached their second successive World Cup final.

Yesterday, a green tinge on the Lord’s track intrigued New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and his England counterpart Eoin Morgan, although both shied away from making bold predictions for today’s Cricket World Cup final.

The pitch sported a healthy green cover, although it looked dry underneath before being put under cover.

“Perhaps encouraging to seam bowlers on both sides,” Williamson told reporters before the team’s practice session.

“But we don’t know what the wicket has in store. There’s still a bit of time between now and the start of play and I haven’t had a close look at it just yet.”

New Zealand demonstrated their ability to defend below-par totals in their low-scoring semi-final clash against India’s formidable batting lineup.

Bowlers Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson have shown tremendous ability to adjust to conditions, often combining to cover up New Zealand’s batting frailties.

“Usually, it’s a fairly fair surface here but I think at the same time one that guys need to adapt quickly to, like any other surface that we have seen in the World Cup,” Williamson said.

“We have done it on a number of occasions but we will have to be good at doing that tomorrow [today].”

Asked if teams would be better off trying to make the most of the first 10 overs of Powerplay, Williamson said: “It is impossible to say at this point in time because we just don’t know what the surface has in store and what a good total is for the team batting first or the team bowling first.”

Pundits had predicted a high-scoring tournament and teams even indulged in talk of breaching the 500-run mark but England’s 397-6 against Afghanistan remains this World Cup’s highest score.

In the four matches of the tournament at Lord’s, twice the 300-mark was breached, both times by Pakistan, though bowlers have largely dominated the tournament.

“New Zealand have done it brilliantly and Lord’s isn’t ever a high-scoring ground. So I’d say tomorrow isn’t going to be a high-scoring ground, so it will be a bit of a battle,” Morgan said.

The England captain, however, felt the green cover on the pitch was thinner than it appeared.

“From afar, it looks greener than it is. There isn’t a lot of grass on the wicket. So it probably exaggerates how it will look.

“If the sun comes out for a few hours, it will look different in a few hours. It’ll go whiter and burn it off.”

Asked if he would call it a bowl-first kind of pitch, the home captain said: “Depends on how hard the wicket gets.”

Eoin Morgan, however, will not take anything for granted, especially against Kane Williamson’s team who upstaged India in the first semi-final in Manchester.

Matt Henry and Trent Boult blew away India’s vaunted top order in a low-scoring thriller and with Lockie Ferguson in the ranks, they could be quite a handful for any batting lineup.

“I think New Zealand throughout the whole tournament has been probably the hardest side to beat and the best side in the group stages,” Morgan said.

“I think their performance in the semi-final was probably their best. They will be a difficult side to beat on Sunday.”

The 2015 finalists began well before three back-to-back defeats nearly scuttled their campaign in the group stage.

Against India, Williamson and his men showed how to defend a low total against a strong lineup, complementing their accurate bowlers with trademark sharp fielding.

The only grey area is their batting, which relies too heavily on Williamson, comfortably their leading run scorer with a tournament-high 91-plus average.

Ross Taylor topscored for the team against India but opener Martin Guptill has been woefully out of form since his 73 not out in their opener against Sri Lanka.

Known for punching above their weight in the World Cup, New Zealand have the chance to go one better than their seven-wicket defeat to Australia four years ago.

“I’m sure people back home are pretty excited and, you know, another great opportunity to play in a World Cup final,” Williamson said, promising to “play our best cricket” on Sunday.

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