AT THE outset of the World Cup, everybody expected England to get to tomorrow’s final, but you have to say that New Zealand have shocked everyone.
They have gone under the radar, but now everyone knows well and truly they are here. It has been an amazing effort and you would not have put them in the top four teams coming into this tournament.
But they have got amazing experience, even on the bench with Tim Southee and Ish Sodhi the spinner and Henry Nicholls if he plays.
We started the tournament slowly and had a couple of hiccups, but we had a little bit of luck when we won the toss in those two vital games against India and New Zealand.Darren Gough
Tomorrow will be a good final and I hope the weather is sunny and it is a good day because sometimes in finals at Lord’s, as we have seen in county finals, the team who bowls first normally bowls the other team out when it is a bit overcast early.
But I do fancy England now. I know some people have said that whoever beats India will win the World Cup, but England have beaten India, as have New Zealand – so one of them will win the World Cup!
New Zealand are experienced and know what it is like, but they have got to make some decisions. Their bowlers have got them to the final, and Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor. That is the only reason they are in the final.
Martin Guptill has had a poor World Cup, but you wonder if he is going to be due some runs. It will be interesting if they choose Colin Munro or Nicholls at the top.
Williamson and Taylor aside, athe rest are ‘bits and pieces’ batsmen such as Tom Latham, Colin De Grandholme, James Neesham and Mitchell Santer. But they have terrific heart and play well as a team and are organised.
If they had been bowling against us in the semi-final with us chasing 223, it might have been slightly different. Their bowlers have been outstanding. Lockie Ferguson has been brilliant along with Trent Boult. They are probing and make sure you play the balls, whereas you look at Mitchell Starc in the semi and he did not get his radar right and went at ten an over.
Pat Cummins got off to a great start in the World Cup, but has been disappointing in the last three or four games. Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis also never got going on Thursday.
For England, Thursday was a perfect performance from start to finish. We started the tournament slowly and had a couple of hiccups, but we had a little bit of luck when we won the toss in those two vital games against India and New Zealand.
But the performance against Australia was the pick of them all. It was an absolutely brilliant display.
People talk about England needing to win the toss and bat first to be at their best, but they have become the No 1 team in the world and have an unbelievable record at home, and as they showed on Thursday, can chase down totals.
When Australia won the toss and hit the first ball for four, you are not human if you did not think: ‘well, here we go’. But the way we came back was terrific. Chris Woakes has got better as the tournament has gone on and when there is a little bit in the pitch, he is at his best.
Jofra Archer produced the best four overs I have seen him bowl in an England shirt, he was pure pace and aggression. Get ready for that in the Ashes, Australia!
Mark Wood came back well from a poor first spell and Liam Plunkett did his usual stuff in the middle and although Adil Rashid went for runs, it did not matter because he did pick up wickets.
He is shining at the right time and I think he has been a lot better in these last two or three games. He might just find his mojo for the final.
Australia had to recover after losing three early wickets and Steve Smith was brilliant. But England showed how you chase down a small total.
We had a hiccup against Sri Lanka and panicked. But this time, I would have loved to be in the dressing room for the team-talk. It would have been: ‘right, this is the opportunity of a lifetime; don’t be nervous – we are the No 1 team in the world, show them why.’
England went out there and smashed it. Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy and Joe Root were watchful a little bit early on and made sure they hit the two left-armers straight – which was the right thing as we’d had a few lbw’s against them – but it was just amazing. Eoin Morgan also set the tone as captain. It was a proper drubbing.
There was lots of praise for Roy on Thursday and he has to play in the Ashes now, simple as that. Thursday was an audition for him, playing against Starc and Jason Behrendorff in English conditions and the way he played was absolutely unbelievable.
He was hitting straight shots and the spinners came on and he attacked them and did not let them settle. He is a definite Ashes starter for me.