England limited New Zealand to a final total of 241 for eight in Sunday’s World Cup final at Lord’s in London.
Captain Kane Williamson’s decision to bat first in damp conditions, after rain had delayed the start, was promising on the back of opener Martin Guptill’s cameo.
Guptill attacked fast bowler Jofra Archer in particular, epitomised by a six lofted over the thirdman boundary. The initial aggression ended in the seventh over, though, when Guptill perished lbw to seamer Chris Woakes despite a review.
His 19 was one of seven double-figure scores by as many New Zealand batsman. Each effectively pledged more, but none managed greater than opener Henry Nicholls’ 55. The severe lack of conversion ultimately consigned the Black Caps to a total 46 runs fewer than the 288 average by teams batting first at Lord’s this tournament.
Seamer Liam Plunkett was characteristically impressive through the so-called middle overs – and claimed a 200th international wicket, which includes 41 in Tests and 25 in T20Is. Fellow right-armer Chris Woakes was equally fruitful en route to the innings’ best figures – three for 37 in nine overs.
New Zealand failed to strike a boundary between the first ball of the 20th over and the fourth of the 34th. All-rounders Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme and Mitchell Santner tried valiantly to regularly punctuate the dry spell with fours and sixes, but weren’t particularly successful.
England and New Zealand are in pursuit of a maiden World Cup title. The Kiwis lost 2015’s final to Australia. The English suffered final defeats to the West Indies, Australia and Pakistan in 1979, 1987 and 1992, respectively.
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