So we will have a new World Champion of cricket come Sunday. After New Zealand pipped hot-favourites India to the post in a thriller last afternoon, it was England's turn to dismantle the old enemy Australia in a majestic display today that ensured a thoroughly-deserved passage into the summit clash of the World Cup at Lord's on Sunday.
Though India and Australia were the favourites to reach the final based on their consistent performances in the league stage, on the day, they were beaten by the better team and New Zealand and England are worthy finalists. One may claim that New Zealand deserve their due after falling at the final hurdle in 2015 and having improved considerably since being the back-benchers of world cricket for a while, but England deserve this title more, and here's why.
The most consistent side
Eoin Morgan has revolutionized the English ODI team since taking over the reins. They were the pre-tournament favourites on home soil, and not for nothing. For close to two years, the Englishmen have dominated the 50-over game, consistently posting gargantuan scores and holding on to the No.1 rank for large swathes of time. They might have been displaced off the top of the ODI rankings by India but have surely proved that they are the most consistent ODI team right now, especially after an all-round show in such a high-pressure game against Australia which they won by eight wickets.
England showed great resolve to ensure the dream of bringing it home lived on after being on the brink following a shock loss to Sri Lanka and then a drubbing by Australia.
However, when the imperious Jason Roy returned to the top of the order, the old England resurfaced at the most vital moment. Jonny Bairstow hit consecutive hundreds in pressure situations and the team chimed in like a well-tuned clock as England toppled heavyweights India and New Zealand to make it to the last four. The mental strength that the team demonstrated at home, on the precipice, makes them more deserving of the crown than any other team in the fray.
England did not even require the batting prowess of a Ben Stokes or Jos Buttler to dispose of Australia on Thursday, such was their command. They bat deep, very, very deep, but that does not mean England don't pack a punch as a bowling unit.
In fact, the wonderful pace bowling by Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes at the beginning of the 2nd semi-final crippled Australia's famed top-order. They have two great pace bowling all-rounders in Woakes and Stokes and spinner Adil Rashid showed his chops today by picking up three crucial wickets.
While other contenders such as India and Australia have had a top-heavy batting line-up and New Zealand have relied heavily on Kane Williamson to get their runs. England, despite the losses, have a much more complete batting unit than their rivals.
In terms of bowling, their pace attack is as good as any in world cricket right now.
England, the inventors of the modern game, have played in three World Cup finals but won none. Many outside England will hate them clinching their first World Cup crown, but it might be time that they finally lay their hands on the trophy at the home of cricket, Lord's, in front of their fans. The stage cannot be better set than this for England's maiden World Cup trophy, they have the right personnel and are at the peak of confidence.
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