England vs New Zealand, World Cup 2019 final: Shoaib Akhtar predicts winner ahead of blockbuster clash at Lord’s
England vs New Zealand: Whichever team comes out victorious, the world will witness a new champion as neither of the two sides have previously lifted the most important trophy in this particular sport.Updated: Jul 14, 2019 08:00 IST
Former Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akhtar has predicted the winner of the ICC World Cup 2019 on the eve of the final between England and New Zealand at the iconic Lord’s in London on Sunday. Whichever team comes out victorious, the world will witness a new champion as neither of the two sides have previously lifted the most important trophy in this particular sport. New Zealand reached the final for the first time in 2015 while England last entered the championship clash in 1992.
“If England win the toss against New Zealand, they will score big runs against the Kiwis. It is important for Martin Guptill and Henry Nicholls to give a solid foundation to the Kiwi lineup. I support New Zealand, but England will clearly go in as the favourites in the final,” Akhtar said in a video posted on his official YouTube channel.
“Pressure plays a big role in big matches. England is a big team. I think they will create history at Lord’s by winning their first ever 50-over World Cup. New Zealand needs to perform in all departments of the game. Guptill needs to score runs for New Zealand to give the team a solid base at the top.
“Jos Buttler should bat at top of the order, and if he gets the opportunity he will score big runs for the team. I hope for a thrilling match, it would be disappointing to see a batting collapse in the finals,” he added.
England entered the final by virtue of destroying defending champions Australia while New Zealand got the better of India in a closely fought encounter. Both teams will now be eager to end their respective title droughts at the ‘Home of Cricket’.
((With agency inputs))
First Published: Jul 13, 2019 21:19 IST