The 2019 Cricket World Cup is finally upon us and after six weeks of Sixes, Wickets, Bouncers, Yorkers and everything in between, two teams are left standing. Hosts England face New Zealand as both sides bid to lift their first-ever World Cup. The home of cricket, Lords, is the venue in what promises to be a tight affair between two teams who have had their ups and downs during this tournament. England beat their old enemy Australia at Edgbaston on Thursday while New Zealand shocked India over two days at Old Trafford in a rain-affected match to get to this stage. So, where will the final be won and lost? There are loads of subplots, twists and turns that have shaped this tournament, but with just 50 overs left each, where are the key battles for England and New Zealand? We’ve picked out 10 that will be answered in Sunday’s final.
Guptil v The Openers
Guptil has had a shocking World Cup so far with an average of 20 in nine innings. Simply put, he hasn’t been good enough, and England’s opening pair of Woakes and Archer will smell blood early.
Bairstow v Injury
At the time of writing, nobody knows if Jonny Bairstow will be fit for Sunday. Without their usual opening pair, England look fragile with the below-par James Vince not showing his quality so far when called upon. It’s crucial for England that they can get Bairstow fit for the final.
Williamson v Archer
Williamson is the ice-cold customer who never seems unnerved. Archer is the enigma that cannot keep still. A clash of styles that may just decide where the World Cup ends up. If Archer can rattle the usually composed Williamson, England may take the upper hand.
Roy v Boult
Jason Roy is good at batting. Trent Boult is good at bowling. It’s as simple as that. Roy’s averaging 71 while Boult has taken 17 wickets so far. Whoever comes out on top of this battle will have a big say in the final result.
Stokes v De Grandhomme
Big hitters, and lower down the pecking order bowlers. If you’re looking for unsung heroes in the final, look no further than this pair. They can both play a huge part with bat and ball. While Stokes is the more genuine all-rounder, CDG has chipped in with five wickets this tournament.
Morgan v Ferguson Bouncers
Out three times to the shorter ball this tournament. England captain Morgan has earned an unwanted reputation of struggling against the shorter ball. Lockie Ferguson will be certain to fire some down to him on Sunday. The New Zealand quick is their top wicket-taker at the World Cup so far.
Plunkett v Taylor
There seems to be nobody better in the middle overs at taking wickets than Liam Plunkett. He always seems to find a way to keep knocking the opposition back. New Zealand’s counter to that? Their number four Ross Taylor. Along with Williamson, he’s been the standout for his side, averaging a healthy 41. If Plunkett gets his wicket early on, England may be into the tail quickly.
England's tail v Boult
In recent matches, England haven’t had to rely on their tail too much for crucial runs. If it does come down to that, though, Trent Boult will be licking his lips at the prospect of firing thunderbolts into England’s bowlers.
Heads v Tails
What would you pick? The first battle will be before a ball is even bowled. Chase or set a target? Both sides will probably be looking to bat first, although England will have regained confidence in their chasing after knocking Australia off in the semi-final with ease.
New Zealand v The crowd
This won’t be like an India game, but the crowd is obviously going to be pro-England. It rocked the Aussies at Edgbaston, and while Lords is somewhat more subdued than the Holies stand in Birmingham, the crowd will have a big part to play. The Kiwis have to play their game, and not the occasion, or else England’s Barmy Army may swing it in their favour.