England v New Zealand
Sunday July 14, 10:30
Live on Betfair Video and Channel 4
England to roar home
England may be the only team in this World Cup who have improved. Others have gone backwards (India in particular) or treaded water. So beyond reaching their first final since 1992, their significant achievement is to become an all-round team.
Before a ball was bowled they had issues in the field – languishing bottom on economy of all competitors in the last two years. They often went round the park and needed their stellar batting to bail them out. It was why, given the chance, they would often chase.
But bar the Pakistan game they have been terrific, led by star of the tournament Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes, who got over a wobble, and the tireless Liam Plunkett. Adil Rashid has also found form after a shoulder complaint.
It is odd that their batting went missing in the three defeats by Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia but no team is scoring runs quicker so it would be wrong to over worry about that. Indeed, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, fit after a groin scare, are so good they could have this won within the first ten.
Shaky Kiwi batting
New Zealand have made it this far for one reason only: their bowling unit. Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson, with spinner Mitchell Santner chipping in, have been superb. The less said about their batting the better. Can't bat, can bowl.
It is entirely possible that this Kiwi side are the most limited team to ever make a World Cup final. That's quite a turnaround given their reputation at the start of the competition.
Everyone knew the bowling would be good and while the batting was not in the same class as India and England, it was not far off. But they have been a disaster with the willow.
The two big problems have been Martin Guptill and Tom Latham. As opener and No 5 respectively, they bookend the Kiwi batting. Guptill gets them off to the fast stats they need, Latham gives Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor confidence as the middle-order anchor. With both Guptill and Latham horribly out of touch, the whole top order has been destabilised and faith is in short supply. No wonder Williamson has scored 29% of their runs.
As a result, it is hard to see New Zealand putting a score together batting first that would trouble England, let alone chase anything above 250.
Win toss, bat first
Here are the last 18 first-innings scores at Lord (1/2 denotes game won by side batting first or second): 315-1/243-1/285-1/322-1/308-1/153-2/328-1/251-1/309-1/300-1/227-2/220-2/272-2/280-1/246-2/265-1/277-1/235-2. As you can see there is a trend – the side batting first is going to have to at least post 280. You will also spot that nine of the last ten have been won by the side batting first. This brings us to the toss bias in the tournament.
Overall, 68% of matches have been won by the side batting first. This is a significant trend and can perhaps be explained by wickets slowing up and the pressure of the chase coming to the fore.
New Zealand all out of shocks
England are [1.33] and New Zealand [3.90]. Ordinarily we would make a case for the Kiwis here, particularly after their stunning upset against India in the semi-final.
However, a one-dimensional team like New Zealand have only the odd shock in them. And this will surely be a game too far. As impressive as they were against India it is hard not to think they were assisted by a unique set of conditions, ranging from muggy conditions, a one-day break to re-focus and an isolationist India who are unschooled in foreign climes.
The only option we see on the match odds is a nibble on the Kiwis if they bowl first under expected heavy skies. They are capable of nicking a couple of England batsman out cheaply and then there will be room for a trade. But we'll be keen to take [1.60] on England in-running for the majority – not that we expect it to come.
Fours quote a little high
The sixes and fours markets are of interest. Sportsbook go under 9.5 sixes at 8/11. That seems fair considering the mark has not been busted at HQ in the four games. England are averaging 7.4 sixes per game (probably toppy considering the Afghanistan assault by Eoin Morgan) and New Zealand 2.3. England are 5/6 to bust 5.5 and the Kiwis are the same to go under 3.5.
England average 26.1 fours per game in the tournament and New Zealand a lowly 17.8. On two-year form they average 24.8 and 19.5 respectively. At Lord's the four-year per game average is 47.3. These numbers suggest total four under 48.5 at 5/6 is a wager.
Our Cric-o-nomics data study, which is returning tournament profits of +18.93 units (29.5 staked), has identified Ben Stokes, Ross Taylor and Liam Plunkett on the top-bat and bowler markets respectively for the showpiece. It does not take into account ground form and it is worth noting that Jason Roy, England's jolly foe most runs, has a surprisingly poor record at HQ. He is averaging just 19 and has never made a fifty there. Joe Root, despite being poor value on the odds, has 288 runs at the ground in the last four years second only to Eoin Morgan with 294.
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