There will be a new World Cup champion on Sunday. Both these teams have been in a final earlier – New Zealand in 2015 too, England in 1979, 1987, 1992 – but have disappointed their supporters by stumbling at the last hurdle.
This contest holds out promise of a thriller even if England – given home advantage and in rampaging form – are clear favourites. New Zealand have consistently punched above their weight, digging deep to emerge from sundry crises – against India in the semis, and West Indies in the league phase – to keep their ambition alive. They are not going to surrender easily.
The two teams are a study in contrast. England today are like the New Zealand team of 2015 under Brendon McCullum – all aggression and bravado. New Zealand, meanwhile, have reverted to a more conservative, almost old England approach, aiming to seize crux moments, with a mix of caution, cunning laced with true brilliance every now and then.
Key Players: Roy, Archer; Williamson, Boult