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July 13, 2019

Lord's greentop likely to assist Black Caps on Sunday


Sat, Jul 13, 2019

LONDON: You could see the tinge of green from miles away. On Saturday, the Lord’s wicket to be used for the World Cup finale looked like a surface that might offer plenty of assistance to the pacers.

That could be bad news for hosts England, seen as the overwhelming favourites to win their first World Cup title.

Boasting perhaps the most potent batting line-up in the tournament, England have preferred to play on batting surfaces.

New Zealand, meanwhile, are a different story.

The Black Caps are in their second successive World Cup final despite the fact that they are the only team apart from minnows Afghanistan to not have scored any 300-plus totals in this tournament.

Like they showed in their low-scoring semi-final against India, New Zealand have been the most impressive team in the contest when it comes to defending relatively low totals.

So will the Lord’s pitch suit them more than it would suit the home team?

Kane Williamson, the New Zealand captain, isn’t sure.

“(The wicket is) perhaps encouraging to seam bowlers on both sides,” he told reporters here at Lord’s on Saturday.

“But we don't know what the wicket has in store, there's still a bit of time between now and the start of play and I haven't had a close look at it just yet because we have just arrived,” he added.

“Usually, it's a fairly fair surface here but I think at the same time one that guys need to adapt quickly to, like any other surface that we have seen in the World Cup.”

Eoin Morgan, Williamson’s counterpart, however believes the Lord’s wicket is deceptive.

“From afar, it looks greener than it is,” he commented.

“There isn't a lot of grass on the wicket. So it probably exaggerates how it will look. I think it will look different if the sun comes out for a few hours, it will look different in a few hours, it'll go whiter and burn it off.”

In the lead up to the World Cup, most analysts predicted that the tournament will witness high-scoring encounters. But that hasn’t really happened.

Williamson pointed out that most of the surfaces used in the World Cup were trickier than they looked.

“I think turning up, most teams having played here before expected scores to be a lot higher than what we have seen, but the reality of it is that they have been quite tough surfaces.

“So trying to make those adjustments are really important and I think if you are focusing on what you need to do as a group and the cricket that you want to play, then making those adjustments like in the last game,” he said referring to his team’s low-scoring semi-final clash at Old Trafford.

“I think both sides looked at the surface, thought it was a really good one, and thought perhaps 300 and something was what was going to be at play, but after 15 overs or so, having conversations thinking ‘this is really quite difficult and 300 looks like a long, long way away’ so if we are able to perhaps achieve something a little bit more realistic on that surface, then that gives you every chance to win the matches,” he said.

“We have done it on a number of occasions but we will have to be good at doing that tomorrow and surfaces at times have been hard to read, especially with the pre-emptive ideas what most teams come into the World Cup with which is very high scoring and tough work for the bowlers.”

Williamson hoped that his team will continue its habit of making vital adjustments according to the need of the situation.

“Tomorrow is a new challenge for each occasion where we will need to make those adjustments quickly,” he said.