England will look to win their maiden World Cup title when they lock horns with Kane Williamson-led New Zealand unit at Lords on Sunday. The team went into the tournament as favourites but their hopes to qualify in the final four were left hanging as they faced consecutive defeats against Sri Lanka and Australia during the league stage.
However, the Eoin Morgan-side bounced back and won their final two league matches against heavyweights India and New Zealand to qualify for the knockout stage. The team then went on to win a one-sided affair against Australia in the semis and now after 27 years, England have the opportunity to become the world champions that too in front of the home crowd.
England road to the finals:
The hosts started their journey with an emphatic victory over South Africa in the tournament opener. Led by a brilliant display by their batsmen, especially Ben Stokes, England managed to post 311/8 in the board. In the bowling unit, Jofra Archer, who also made his World Cup debut on the following day, was phenomenal with the ball. The Barbadian-born English cricketer produced a match-winning spell of 3/21 in 7 overs and helped his side win the contest by a huge margin of 104 runs.
Stunned by Pakistan
In the second match, England were shocked by Sarfaraz Ahmed-led Pakistan who produced a clinical performance to overhaul the hosts by 14 runs. However, after going down against Pakistan, England went on to win three matches on the trot defeating Bangladesh, West Indies, and Afghanistan respectively.
Back to back defeats
But the side after losing opener Jason Roy due to an injury soon found themselves on the receiving end as they failed to chase a mere 233 against Sri Lanka. Former Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews scored 85 and helped his side post 232/9 in 50 overs. After Mathews, veteran Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga took charge and picked four wickets to bundle out England on 212 in 47 overs.
England then endured another 64-run heavy defeat against defending champions Australia. With this outcome, the race for the final four once again opened, with both Bangladesh and Pakistan vying for the fourth spot.
Bounced back with emphatic victories
However, the side picked themselves up and won both their must-win league matches against India and then New Zealand. They dominated both the matches and produced an all-round performance to march on to the knockout stages.
Ruthless in semis
Playing their first semi-finals since 1992, England avenged their league stage loss against Australia. Batting first, Australia got off to a harrowing start, however, Steve Smith’s 85 and Alex Carey’s 46 helped the defending champions post a respectable 223 on the board. England were ruthless in their batting too as opener Jason Roy added 85 in just 65 balls, helping his side complete the chase in just 32.1 overs.