Thursday, 17 October 2019

Steve Waugh picks England as favorite to lift World Cup

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LONDON: Former Australian cricketer and 1999 World Cup hero Steve Waugh on Friday (July 12) chose England against New Zealand to lift the coveted trophy, saying the hosts are in red-hot form in ICC World Cup 2019.

Neither England nor New Zealand has won the World Cup before and Sunday’s winner would create cricketing history. Waugh said that even though New Zealand would go into the tie as underdogs, they would still have a good chance of winning it after their surprise win over tournament favorites India in the semi-finals.

England’s eight-wicket thrashing of Australia in the semi-finals, a mauling of New Zealand in the group stages and home advantage are all factors that make the hosts heavy favorites.

Known for punching above their weight in the World Cup, New Zealand have the chance to go one better than their seven-wicket defeat to Australia four years ago. The challenge for England is to embrace the hype surrounding Sunday‘s fixture without letting it inhibit them from playing their brand of “fearless” cricket.

By reaching the final, England have guaranteed an international match will be shown live on free-to-air television in Britain for the first time since the iconic 2005 Ashes series — a chance to inspire a new generation.

“I think Sunday‘s not a day to shy away from, it‘s a day to look forward to,” said Morgan, an outrider in English cricket in becoming an ODI specialist when the steely Dubliner realised his Test career had stalled.

It is perhaps appropriate that England are facing New Zealand in a final between two sides who have yet to win the World Cup. For it was the Black Caps who showed England how to play the modern one-day game at the 2015 edition in Wellington four years ago.

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