Hosts England will take on New Zealand in the final of the Cricket World Cup at Lord’s in London on Sunday. England, who finished in third position in the group stage, thrashed defending champions Australia while New Zealand picked up a narrow 18-run win over two-time champions India to make it to the grand finale for the second time running.
Before the sides clash for world supremacy on Sunday, let’s take a look at the journey of the two sides in the Cricket World Cup so far.
The World Cup hosts finished the group stages in third position with 12 points from their nine fixtures. The side started their campaign with a victory over South Africa but suffered a defeat against Pakistan in their very next game. They clinched three successive wins over Bangladesh, West Indies and Afghanistan but then slumped to back-to-back defeats at the hands of former champions Sri Lanka and Australia. The two defeats meant England needed to win both of their games against India and New Zealand to reach the knockout stages. The hosts and number one side in the world managed to regain their form at the right time and went on to beat the then top two sides in the groups to finish third. Eoin Morgan and his men then faced Australia again in the semi-finals and avenged their group-stage defeat with a statement eight-wicket win to make themselves favourites.
The Black Caps will be playing their second successive World Cup final despite never having reached the title decider before. The side’s campaign was full of ups and downs but they managed to secure their spot in the semi-final on net run-rate ahead of Pakistan. The Kiwis hit the ground running and registered comfortable wins over Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan before their fixture against India was washed out. They beat South Africa and West Indies to go top of the table before their unbeaten streak was broken by Pakistan. Kane Williamson’s men then suffered consecutive defeats at the hands of Australia and England but their passage to the knockouts was all but confirmed by that point. They were overwhelming underdogs when they played India in the first semi-final but managed to defend a low target of 240 as they did the damage with the new ball.
Neither side has ever won the World Cup before, which means history will be made on Sunday.