LONDON: Liam Plunkett and Chris Woakes led a controlled bowling display as an impressive England attack restricted New Zealand to a below-par 241 for eight wickets in the ICC World Cup final at Lord’s on Sunday.
Fast bowler Plunkett dismissed New Zealand captain and star batsman Kane Williamson for just 30 before removing established opener Henry Nicholls for an innings-best 55 in a return of 3-42 from his 10 overs. Woakes followed up with 3-37.
New Zealand, however, successfully defended a total of 239 in their shock semi-final win over India, when they reduced one of the world’s strongest batting line-ups to 24-4.
Williamson, as he had done against India, batted first after winning the toss in overcast conditions — after both sides retained the same XI from their contrasting semi-final victories — and on a green pitch Nicholls was still on nought when given out
lbw to Woakes but successfully reviewed umpire Kumar Dharmasena’s decision.
Fellow opener Martin Guptill, the leading run-scorer at the 2015 World Cup, then hit fast bowler Jofra Archer for two boundaries in three balls — an uppercut six over third man followed by a straight drive back over the paceman’s head.
Guptill has struggled at this tournament, however, and on 19 he was lbw to Woakes, who had struck two early blows in England’s eight-wicket semi-final thrashing of reigning champions Australia.
Guptill— who had gone without a fifty since the opener against Sri Lanka — reviewed but was walking back to the pavilion even before replays confirmed the ball would have smashed into his middle stump.
It left number three Williamson having to mount yet another rescue mission this World Cup.
Before this match, Williamson had scored nearly 30 percent of his side’s runs at this tournament — 548 at an eye-catching average of 91.33.
But, having put on 74 for the second wicket with Nicholls, he fell when he edged a rising cross-seamer from Plunkett to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.
Dharmasena initially said not out but an England review confirmed the end of Williamson’s 53-ball innings, which featured just two fours.
New Zealand, who had been 103-1 prior to Williamson’s exit, then found themselves 118-3 when Plunkett struck for the second time in 14 balls.
Nicholls, who had completed a 71-ball fifty, fell for an innings top score of 55 when he played on after being cramped for room by a Plunkett delivery that curved back into him.
New Zealand were now looking to senior batsman Taylor to bail them out of trouble.
But he could only manage 15 before falling lbw to Wood. Replays suggested the ball would have gone over the top of the stumps but New Zealand had used up their review with Guptill’s unsuccessful effort.
When Jimmy Neesham (19) chipped Plunkett to Joe Root at mid-on, the Black Caps were 173-5 with 11 overs left.
Tom Latham defiantly hit Wood for six but Colin de Grandhomme, who top-edged a hook off Archer into his helmet, took 28 balls for a 16 that finished when he chipped a Woakes slower ball mid-off as England maintained their tight grip on the game.
Latham’s 47 off 56 balls ended when he chipped a low Woakes full toss to mid-off, with New Zealand then 232-7.
New Zealand 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.
Batsmen & mode of dismissals R B 4s 6s SR
M.J. Guptill lbw b Woakes 19 18 2 1 105.55
H.M. Nicholls b Plunkett 55 77 4 0 71.42
K.S. Williamson c Buttler b Plunkett 30 53 2 0 56.60
L.R.P.L. Taylor lbw b Wood 15 31 0 0 48.38
T.W.M. Latham c sub b Woakes 47 56 2 1 83.92
J.D.S. Neesham c Root b Plunkett 19 25 3 0 76.00
C. de Grandhomme c sub b Woakes 16 28 0 0 57.14
M.J. Santner not out 5 9 0 0 55.55
M.J. Henry b Archer 4 2 1 0 200.00
T.A. Boult not out 1 2 0 0 50.00
EXTRAS (LB-12, W-17, NB-1) 30 - - - --
TOTAL (for eight wkts, 50 overs) 241 - - - --
FALL OF WKTS: 1-29 (Guptill, 6.2 ov), 2-103 (Williamson, 22.4 ov), 3-118 (Nicholls, 26.5 ov), 4-141 (Taylor, 33.1 ov), 5-173 (Neesham, 38.6 ov), 6-219 (de Grandhomme, 46.5 ov), 7-232 (Latham, 48.3 ov), 8-240 (Henry, 49.3 ov).
DID NOT BAT: L.H. Ferguson.
BOWLING: Woakes 9-0-37-3 (1nb, 4w); Archer 10-0-42-1; Plunkett 10-0-42-3; Wood 10-1-49-1 (2w); Adil Rashid 8-0-39-0; Stokes 3-0-20-0 (2w).
ENGLAND: J.J. Roy, J.M. Bairstow, J.E. Root, E.J.G. Morgan, .A. Stokes, J.C. Buttler, C.R. Woakes, L.E. Plunkett, Adil Rashid, J.C. Archer, M.A. Wood.
UMPIRES: H.D.P.K. Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) and M. Erasmus (South Africa).
TV UMPIRE: R.J. Tucker (Australia).
MATCH REFEREE: R.S. Madugalle (Sri Lanka).
Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2019