On Sunday, one way or another, history will be made, as England and New Zealand battle it out at Lord's, each trying to win their first ever Cricket World Cup.

Here, Tim Wigmore breaks down the sides bit by bit, to see who has the advantage going into the game of their lives.

Top order

Since putting on 137 not out in their opening game, New Zealand's top opening stand is 35. Three times it has been dislodged in the first over, including twice from the very first ball. Little wonder that Colin Munro has been dropped midway through this run. And, from making 547 runs at 68.37 in the 2015 World Cup, Martin Guptill only has 167 runs at 20.87 so far in 2019.

England, meanwhile have, statistically, the greatest ODI opening pair in history. And they have been better than ever so far in this World Cup, with Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow adding four consecutive century partnerships for the opening wicket.


Verdict: England by a landslide

Middle order

While Kane Williamson has been a totem – the best number three in the tournament – and Ross Taylor has been efficient, New Zealand have lacked a functioning number five, with Tom Latham averaging just 15.42 all tournament.

While no English middle order player has quite matched Williamson's everyday brilliance, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler are the most feared middle order in ODI cricket, despite England's penchant for stumbling in run chases earlier in the World Cup.

Verdict: England

Tom Latham batting against England. Photo / Photosport
Tom Latham batting against England. Photo / Photosport

Tail-end runs

The lack of form, and then dropping, of Moeen Ali has weakened England's tail, even if Chris Woakes is a capable number seven.

While England still have lower order six-hitting capacity, this doesn't match that of Colin de Grandhomme, who has played several crucial innings from number seven. Mitchell Santner also has a fine record finishing innings from number eight against England.

Verdict: New Zealand

New-ball bowling

With Woakes pitching the ball up and Jofra Archer bowling quicker and a shorter length, England's contrasting new ball pair have been arguably the best in the tournament.

New Zealand's own pair, of the terrific left-armer Trent Boult and Matt Henry, have been almost as good – never more so than against India in the semi-final – but Henry is the weakest of the quartet, and most dependent upon conditions being favourable.

Verdict: England

Middle-overs threat

Lockie Ferguson has been a persistent source of exhilaration and menace bowling his 90mph rockets in the middle overs: perhaps the single most obvious contrast between this team and traditional New Zealand sides. Santner displayed terrific skill and temperament to strangle India during the semi-final.

While England have Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood to provide middle over pace, and Adil Rashid to turn the ball both ways, Ferguson has been the outstanding middle over bowler of the competition.

Verdict: New Zealand

Lockie Ferguson. Photo / Photosport
Lockie Ferguson. Photo / Photosport

Death bowling

England have been the most economical team at the death this tournament, a testament to the yorkers and hostility of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, and the clever cutters of Chris Woakes.

While New Zealand have Boult and Ferguson at times at the death, they have often relied on James Neesham's cutters, while Henry was hit for 25 in a single over by Carlos Brathwaite.

Verdict: England


New Zealand's phenomenal fielding – Neesham's catch for the ages, and Guptill's run-out of MS Dhoni – was a defining feature of their heist over India.

Outstanding fielding is in keeping with Kiwi sides of yore, but England – led by the exuberant Ben Stokes – have a fielding line-up that can be considered New Zealand's equal. And, so far, Buttler has shaded Latham behind the stumps.

Verdict: Tie