London: England will chase 242 to win the Cricket World Cup for the first time after Liam Plunkett’s 3-40 helped to limit New Zealand to another middling total in the final at Lord’s on Sunday.
Every specialist New Zealand batsman got into double figures but only opener Henry Nicholls (55) reached a half-century in the face of a disciplined bowling effort from the tournament host.
Plunkett, one of the understated members of the England team, took center stage by removing New Zealand captain Kane Williamson (30) and Nicholls in the space of 14 balls. The seamer also took the wicket of dangerous allrounder Jimmy Neesham (19).
The Black Caps, who are also seeking their first world title, finished on 241-8. They have proved adept at defending relatively small totals in this tournament and Lord’s isn’t known for its heavy scoring in ODIs. In the semifinals, India failed to chase down 240 against New Zealand in Manchester.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat first under cloudy and threatening skies, New Zealand again saw its opening partnership fail to set a platform for the innings as Martin Guptill was trapped lbw by Chris Woakes on 19. Worse, he burnt New Zealand’s review which would end up costing Ross Taylor his wicket later in the innings.
It brought Williamson to the middle early, not for the first time in this World Cup, and he was watchful to start with, picking up just two runs from his first 22 balls. He was never at his fluent best before going after a wide delivery by Plunkett and edging behind.
Umpire Kumar Dharmasena didn’t give it, England reviewed, and the replay showed a nick by Williamson, who will finish the tournament with 578 runs and an average of 82.57. New Zealand was unable to accelerate in the middle overs, picking up just 35 runs from overs 20-30.
The loss of Taylor — New Zealand’s other big fish — felt big, especially the manner he was dismissed. Given out lbw to paceman Mark Wood, replays showed the ball was going over the stumps. He couldn’t review, though, as Guptill had wasted it.
Tom Latham plundered 46 off 57 balls as the Black Caps stumbled toward the 250-run mark by making 62 runs off the final 10 overs Still, New Zealand has failed to reach 300 at this World Cup, a total widely considered par in modern-day ODI cricket. It was an improvement on its score of 183 in the 2015 final against Australia.