New Zealand vs England at Lord's Cricket Ground weather update, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: While England were touted to be favourites to lift the World Cup, their opponents in the final, New Zealand have quietly gone about their business, led by perhaps the most unassuming cricketer in his era, Kane Williamson.
The Blackcaps nudged their way into the semi-finals after losing their last three group games, owing to a superior Net Run Rate (NRR). In a tournament which has seen the batsmen amass scores of runs, New Zealand bucked the trend, their middle-order batters orchestrating hot and cold cameos around a reliable Williamson as they strained themselves to push past 220. It was then up to their seam bowlers to save the blushes and so they did as Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry have extracted seam from the hint of grass on the largely batting friendly pitches.
England, on the other hand, were once being threatened by a resurgent Pakistan for a semi-final spot. They nullified that possibility, ending the group stage with a flourish, their wins over India and New Zealand emboldening them and their captain Eoin Morgan's brand of aggressive cricket.
It is perhaps good riddance that both finalists have left their on-field performances do the talking for in their respective semifinals, both were labelled as 'underdogs'.
Cricket experts and commentators had said that India's finish at the top spot in the group stages would bode well as they would get to play the 'easier' semifinal against New Zealand, going about predicting an India vs Australia final.
Australia's Nathan Lyon too had said that the World Cup was England's to lose, that Eoin Morgan's men were bound to wilt under pressure for they were facing five-time world champions who had never lost a World Cup semifinal.
While both teams will be vying for their first World Cup, it will be England who'll go into the final as the stronger team on paper and per previous performances.
Their opening batsmen, Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy are self-assured hitters not known to be in half-minds while facing deliveries outside the off-stump.
There's a vein of rich form behind every single batsman in their middle-order, while their bowlers, led by Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer have combined well to take wickets up top, stemming the flow of runs in the powerplay.
New Zealand will be looking to repeat their winning formula this World Cup which somehow shields the inequities of their batting order which has left much to desire. Williamson would want to win the toss and bat first, put a decent total with at least 240 on board before the bowlers take centre stage and hand the Blackcaps their potential first title.
The weather conditions at Lord's according to Accuweather also suggest that batting first would be the ideal and more practical option. It will be a largely sunny day with temperatures rising steadily in London. Some cloud cover is expected but with no thundershowers on the cards, we can expect the match to continue uninterrupted.
However, history suggests that the pitch at Lord's does offer ample assistance for seam bowlers, particularly left-arm seamers as the 2.5 metres drop from one end to the other makes batting difficult particularly when faced with the new ball. That's where Trent Boult will be lethal, standing in the way of what could very well be a repeat of the group stage match between both sides where England won the toss and chose to bat first before putting up a target of 306, going on to bundle up New Zealand for a paltry 186.