Kane Williamson's New Zealand were "shattered" after a heartbreaking loss to England in the Cricket World Cup final but the Black Caps skipper remained magnanimous in defeat.

The tournament hosts lifted the trophy for the first time at Lord's after Sunday's epic final was decided by the finest of margins.

New Zealand posted 241-8 having opted to bat, and the scores were level at the conclusion of the chase, Ben Stokes making 84 not out while Mark Wood was run out coming back for a second off the final ball that would have secured victory for England.

Stokes and Jos Buttler plundered 15 from the Super Over and New Zealand matched that tally – Martin Guptill short of his ground in trying to pick up a two off the last delivery as the home side prevailed due to their superior number of boundaries in the initial 50 overs.

"It certainly wasn't just one extra run, so many small parts in that match could've gone either way, congratulations to England, they've had a fantastic campaign and they deserve the victory," said Williamson, who was named player of the tournament for his 578 runs at 82.57.

"It's been challenging, the pitches have been different to what we expected, there was talk of 300+ scores but we haven't seen many, thanks to our side and the fight they showed in this campaign, it took a huge amount of heart to get us to this stage. It just wasn't meant to be today.

"The guys are shattered at the moment, it's obviously very devastating, they've performed at this tournament at such a high level, it's pretty tough to swallow at this stage but a fantastic effort from our guys all round.

"We felt runs on the board was going to be challenging, as it proved. We may have liked another 10 or 20 but [we thought] perhaps 240 might be enough. We put England under pressure, it was a fantastic game of cricket, both sides showed fight and heart.

"To go to the last ball, it's tough to separate but credit to England and there's a lot of positives in this experience for our boys."

Stokes enjoyed a huge slice of fortune in the final over when, with nine needed off three, he scampered a two and then inadvertently deflected the ball to the boundary in diving back to his crease, earning a bonus four runs for his team.

"That was a bit of a shame, wasn't it," a typically understated Williamson remarked. "That's the game we play, those things happen from time to time, you just hope it doesn't happen at times like that, it's tough to nit-pick, it just wasn't meant to be for us."

Ben Stokes said he doubts "there will ever be a better game in cricket history" than the remarkable contest that saw England pip New Zealand to Cricket World Cup glory.

An extraordinary final at Lord's was eventually decided following a Super Over, with the tournament hosts sealing victory courtesy of their higher boundary count in regulation play.

Eoin Morgan's side initially matched the Black Caps' total of 241 in 50 overs as Stokes contributed an invaluable 84 not out, before both sides scored 15 runs in the subsequent one-over shoot-out, Martin Guptill’s run out handing England victory.

"I'm lost for words to be honest, all the hard work to get us where we are today, this is what we aspire to be and we managed to come here and do it," said Stokes, who also batted alongside Jos Buttler in the Super Over before Jofra Archer just about saw England home with the ball.

"I don't think there'll ever be a better game in cricket history than that."

England's triumph owed much to a remarkable piece of good fortune towards the end of their chase, which saw Stokes - who had smashed Trent Boult's previous delivery for a maximum - claim six more as he dived to complete a second run and inadvertently deflected the ball to the boundary.

"I apologised to Kane [Williamson, New Zealand's captain] countless times about that, it's not exactly how you want to do that," added Stokes. "I said to Kane I'll be apologising for that for the rest of my life.

"It's written in the stars when that kind of stuff happens."

Stokes was famously on the receiving end of late drama when England lost the 2016 World Twenty20 final to West Indies, the all-rounder taken for four successive sixes by Carlos Brathwaite in a last over that began with 19 needed for victory.

"I definitely wasn't going to bowl it [the Super Over] after last time," joked Stokes, who went on to hail Archer's nerve at the death.

"Jofra Archer, I backed him all the way, the talent he's got is incredible and he's showed up on the world stage and shown how good he is."

Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer were the heroes as England finally claimed their maiden Cricket World Cup title in the most remarkable fashion imaginable, defeating New Zealand courtesy of a higher boundary count following a Super Over at Lord's.

In truly extraordinary scenes, the two teams in Sunday's final could not be separated in 100 overs of regulation play - England posting 241 all out in reply to their opponents' 241-8 - and then managed 15 runs apiece in the one-over shootout that followed.

The final act saw Martin Guptill needing to hit two runs off Archer, the Barbados-born paceman who only qualified for England in March, but the Black Caps opener was run out coming back for a second from the final delivery, unable to beat Jason Roy's accurate throw from deep midwicket.

England, who hit 24 boundaries in their 50 overs compared to New Zealand's 16, were therefore able to celebrate a first final victory at the fourth attempt, with Stokes having played a key role in both their initial run chase and the Super Over to exorcise the demons of his last-over misery at the hands of Carlos Brathwaite in the 2016 World Twenty20 final showpiece against West Indies.

 

The 2019 Cricket World Cup final between New Zealand and England sensationally went down to a Super Over after a remarkable conclusion to the hosts' run-chase at Lord's.

Chasing 242 for victory, England required 15 from the final over and three off the last two balls after two sixes from Ben Stokes, the second courtesy of an extraordinary turn of events that saw the batsman dive to make a second run and inadvertently divert the ball over the rope for four more.

The drama was not over there, however, as Adil Rashid and Mark Wood were each run out at the non-striker's end to ensure Stokes (84 not out off 98 balls) could only pinch singles from each of Trent Boult's final deliveries.

That meant England finished on 241 all out, matching New Zealand's total of 241-8. As a result, a one-over shootout was required to decide which team would win their first World Cup final.

 

Liam Plunkett and Chris Woakes took three wickets apiece as England were set 242 to beat New Zealand in the Cricket World Cup final at Lord's on Sunday.

Plunkett took 3-42 and Woakes 3-37, restricting the Black Caps to 241-8 after Kane Willamson won the toss and opted to bat under grey skies following a slightly delayed start due to morning rain.

Henry Nicholls top scored with 55 and Tom Latham made 47 as England fielded superbly and bowled tightly, roared on by an expectant crowd as both sides bid to win the tournament for the first time.

Nicholls successfully reviewed after he was given out leg before to Woakes without scoring, but the same bowler saw the back of Martin Guptill in the seventh over.

Guptill, who cut Jofra Archer for six and drove the paceman for four in the same over, inexplicably reviewed when he was struck bang in front and was on his way for 19.

Left-hander Nicholls and a watchful Williamson ran positively in a stand of 74 to steady the ship before Plunkett got the big scalp of the New Zealand captain, a review showing he feathered behind to Jos Buttler for 30.

Nicholls brought up his 50 from 71 balls but was on his way in the next over, playing on to a probing delivery from the excellent Plunkett as England put the squeeze on.

New Zealand were 141-4 when Ross Taylor was unfortunate be adjudged lbw by Marais Erasmus from a Mark Wood ball that was going over the top, with no review to save him.

Jimmy Neesham struck three boundaries before tamely chipping Plunkett to Joe Root at mid-off, reducing the underdogs to 173-5 with 11 overs remaining. 

Latham launched Wood into the leg side for six before he and Colin de Grandhomme were caught by substitute fielder James Vince off Woakes.

Archer bowled Matt Henry in the last over as New Zealand's attempted late onslaught failed to materialise.

New Zealand won the toss and chose to bat first in the Cricket World Cup final at Lord’s as both sides look to land the trophy for the first time.

A wet start in London saw the pitch covered early in the morning before showers passed to avert the danger of a significant delay.

The toss and start of play were nudged back by a quarter of an hour to 10:15 local time (09:15GMT) and 10:45 (09:45GMT) respectively.

Tournament hosts England, led by Eoin Morgan, are unchanged from their semi-final victory over Australia, and New Zealand also made no alterations to the side that saw off India.

This is a first Cricket World Cup final for England since 1992, when Graham Gooch’s team lost to Imran Khan’s Pakistan.

For New Zealand it was a chance to go one better than four years ago when they suffered a seven-wicket thumping at the hands of fellow tournament co-hosts Australia.

There are five survivors from that match lining up against England, with Martin Guptill keeping his place despite making five single-figure scores in his past seven innings. The opener is joined by skipper Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Matt Henry and Trent Boult.

Williamson backed Guptill to come good and said it would be "incredibly special" for New Zealand to win the trophy.

"But before those potential thoughts it's about playing some good cricket," he said.

England captain Morgan said he was not unhappy with the outcome of the toss.

"No, not at all. It was a bit of a 50-50 call. It's always difficult here at Lord's. With the overheads we were probably leaning towards a bowl but it doesn't really bother me," Morgan said on Sky Sports.

"Whichever side plays well will lift the trophy at the end of the day.

"It's a big challenge for us playing against an in-form New Zealand side."

New Zealand batsman Henry Nicholls has been passed fit to face England in the Cricket World Cup final at Lord's on Sunday.

Nicholls sustained a hamstring injury in the thrilling win over India in the last four and did not field in the second half of that match at Old Trafford.

However, the Black Caps announced on Saturday that the left-hander had taken a full part in training and would be available for the decider against the tournament hosts.

"Henry Nicholls has trained fully and passed a fitness test to be available to play tomorrow's @ICC @cricketworldcup Final at the @HomeOfCricket," read a post on the team's Twitter page.

Nicholls' three outings at this World Cup have produced scores of 8, 0 and 28 as he, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro have all struggled for form atop the New Zealand order.

New Zealand and England will both be aiming to lift the Cricket World Cup for the first time when they meet in the final on Sunday.

Hosts England were the pre-tournament favourites but the Black Caps should not be underestimated by Eoin Morgan's side, having also reached the final four years ago.

Australia easily came out on top in a trans-Tasman clash on that occasion but a well-matched clash is expected at Lord's, the home of cricket.

England and New Zealand finished third and fourth respectively in the group stage but each side won their semi-final comfortably, Morgan's men disposing of the holders by eight wickets while Kane Williamson's team beat India by 18 runs.

Williamson shoulders the burden of expectation for New Zealand in terms of their batting, the skipper having hit 548 runs at the tournament, over 200 more than any of his team-mates. Opener Martin Guptill has struggled, however, recording two ducks and passing 50 just once.

Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson have taken 35 wickets between them, posing a twin pace threat of which England should be wary, though the hosts' batting line-up is packed with explosive power and class.

Joe Root has outscored Williamson by a single run while Jonny Bairstow has hit two hundreds in his past three games, including 106 in a win over New Zealand in Durham during the group stage.

Bairstow's prolific opening partnership with Jason Roy has been crucial for England, while captain Morgan's remarkable 148 against Afghanistan was one of the most thrilling innings of the tournament.

England's batting has been their strength in the years since a disastrous 2015 World Cup, though in Jofra Archer they have unearthed one of the stars of this year’s event.

The Barbados-born paceman only made his international debut in May but has taken 19 World Cup wickets, the most for England.

If New Zealand are to produce an upset, the battle between Archer and Williamson may well prove to be decisive.

 

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

Both teams lost three matches during the group stage, with New Zealand squeezing into the semi-finals as the last of the four qualifiers. However, they then produced a brilliant display to down India in a rain-affected semi-final at Old Trafford that spanned two days.

England had a major wobble during the group stage when Roy was injured, but they head into the final on the back of wins against India, New Zealand and Australia - all three of their fellow semi-finalists.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

England captain Morgan: "I think in general throughout the tournament the scores have been a lot lower than they have previously here in the last three or four years. Us adjusting to that has been harder work than it normally is. New Zealand have done it brilliantly and Lord's isn't ever a high-scoring ground so I'd say it will be a bit of a battle.

Black Caps skipper Williamson: "We were in a different part of the world on a different surface against a different opposition [for the 2015 final], and both sides are very different from four years ago, so it's kind of hard to compare those times. Whether having had experience in a final or not is a good thing? Any final you get the opportunity to play in is a really positive thing."

OPTA FACTS

- Ben Stokes (England) is yet to be hit for a six in the tournament, making him the only one of 59 bowlers to send down more than 30 overs yet to concede a maximum.
- Kane Williamson has scored more runs (548) 2019 than any other player has managed in an edition of the World Cup for New Zealand, Joe Root has set the same record for England (549 runs).
- England are trying to emulate the England women's ODI side who lifted the Women's Cricket World Cup in 2017 with a dramatic nine-run victory over India, also at Lord's.
- Ross Taylor (987 runs) and Martin Guptill (976) are vying to become the second player after Stephen Fleming (1,075) to score 1,000 World Cup runs for New Zealand. Williamson requires 119 to reach the same milestone.

Kane Williamson is not concerned about New Zealand being underdogs for Sunday's Cricket World Cup final against tournament hosts England.

Both teams are bidding to win the tournament for the first time in their history, New Zealand having been beaten in the final by trans-Tasman rivals Australia four years ago.

England entered the World Cup among the favourites having risen to the top of the ODI team rankings, but Williamson is backing his side to pull off an upset on Sunday.

"I think England, rightly so, deserve to be favourites," Williamson told a news conference when asked if his team are underdogs. "Coming into this tournament from the start, they were favourites and they've been playing really good cricket.

"But whatever dog we are, it's just important that we focus on the cricket that we want to play and we have seen over the years that anybody can beat anybody regardless of breed of dog.

"We are really looking forward to the occasion and, like I say, the end point and the result, there's a lot of time between now and that point.

"So focusing too much on it I don't think is a positive thing and the focus for us as a group is what's in front of us and we know you go into any match and you have to deal with a number of different things, whether it's different moments of pressure, whether it's different moments of momentum and we have to be prepared to deal with all of those again."

New Zealand are yet to pass 300 with the bat at this World Cup, with Williamson expecting a low-scoring contest at Lord's.

"I think turning up, most teams having played here before expected scores to be a lot higher than what we have seen," Williamson added.

"But the reality of it is that they have been quite tough surfaces and there's been surfaces that have aged throughout perhaps a match on one day, 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.

"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.

"And 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. Bowlers have, I think, enjoyed themselves a little bit.

"So, yeah, tomorrow is a new challenge for each occasion where we will need to make those adjustments quickly."

Eoin Morgan will not yet allow himself to dream of lifting the Cricket World Cup as he believes England must improve again if they are to beat New Zealand.

England have found form at the right time at this year's tournament, beating India, New Zealand and semi-final opponents Australia in succession to reach Sunday's final at Lord's.

But captain Morgan is wary of looking too far ahead on the eve of the match.

"I haven't allowed myself to think about lifting the trophy," he told a news conference.

"Cricket, and sport in particular, is very fickle. If you ever get ahead, it always seems to bite you in the backside."

And while England were outstanding against Australia in the last four, winning by eight wickets at Edgbaston, Morgan expects a huge test from the Black Caps.

"I think we will need to [improve]," he said. "New Zealand are an extremely tough side, with a lot of experience, a lot of skill.

"They were the best side in the group stage and they improved, very similar to us, from the group stage to the semi-final performance.

"So we are striving to improve on our performance - no doubt they will."

England have at least found their flow with the three straight wins, with Morgan acknowledging the benefit of being left in a do-or-die position in the group stage.

"I think it has helped us because it lends itself to actually being more positive and aggressive and a bit smarter about how we play," he said.

"It's sort of been the last-chance saloon since Durham [against New Zealand], which has been nice in a way."

Eoin Morgan confirmed England have a clean bill of health going into the Cricket World Cup final against New Zealand and says his players are "relaxed and excited" ahead of Sunday.

Hosts England thrashed Australia at Edgbaston on Thursday to book their place in the Lord's final, although star opener Jonny Bairstow was a slight fitness concern after he appeared to tweak his groin running.

Captain Morgan described the issue as "not very concerning" after the Australia match and he was able to bring a positive update on the eve of the showpiece fixture.

"Yeah, everybody is fit, so that's good news," he told a news conference.

With their strongest XI available, Morgan says the team are in high spirits and will not shy away from the excitement of a World Cup final.

"I feel pretty relaxed. It's nice to be home. I'm also very excited about tomorrow," he said. "We're going to enjoy the game regardless.

"We're going to take in as much as we can - it's a World Cup final, we're not going to shy away from that. As long as it doesn't affect performance, we're going to try to take it in."

And having put in the hard work and felt the support of the fans, Morgan is now hoping both England and the Black Caps can put on a show.

"It means a huge amount to me and everybody in the changing room," he said. "It's a culmination of four years of hard work, dedicated and a lot of planning. It presents a huge opportunity to go and try to win a World Cup.

"From everybody around the country, the support we've had throughout has been unquestionable. As a team, it makes you feel incredibly lucky to be part of a team that has that sort of support.

"It presents another opportunity for both teams and the ICC to sell the game on a huge platform. It's two very strong sides, who hopefully produce a really good game of cricket.

"It's on terrestrial television around the country and various outlets online, it presents a huge opportunity for us to sell this great game."

There will be a new winner of the Cricket World Cup in 2019 as hosts England and New Zealand each aim to lift the trophy for the first time in Sunday's final at Lord's.

England thrashed Australia at Edgbaston on Thursday after weather meant the Black Caps needed two days to upset India at Old Trafford. And now one of these two teams will end a long wait for World Cup glory, setting aside past failures.

For England, there have been three previous agonising defeats. So often losing semi-finalists, New Zealand finally made it beyond the last four in 2015, only to come up short in the decider.

Ahead of the huge contest at the home of cricket, we look at the previous final appearances for the two nations.

 

1979 – BRILLIANT RICHARDS LIGHTS UP LORD'S

England edged New Zealand in the last four at the second ever World Cup in 1979, their reward a meeting with holders West Indies. The hosts elected to bowl and that initially looked set to pay dividends, the Windies reduced to 99-4 before Viv Richards stepped up. 'The Master Blaster' smashed a sublime unbeaten 138, with Collis King weighing in with 86 off just 66 deliveries, a knock that is too often overlooked when recalling the game these days.

England's response to that score of 286-9 from 60 overs was slow but steady. Opening duo Mike Brearley and Geoff Boycott both hit half-centuries, yet a lack of urgency left the rest of the line-up too much to do. After briefly lifting the tempo, Graham Gooch's departure signalled a stunning collapse. The home team lost their last eight wickets for 11 runs to be dismissed for 194, Joel Garner doing much of the damage as he recorded figures of 5-38.

 

1987 – GATTING DISMISSAL TURNS THE TIDE

The 1987 tournament was the first to be played outside of England, though they still reached the final after knocking out co-hosts India on home soil in the last four. Australia posted a competitive 253-5 from their 50 overs after opting to bat first, David Boon leading the way with 75.

Despite their reply suffering a disastrous start with the loss of opener Tim Robinson for a golden duck, England appeared on track at 135-2. The game changed, however, on captain Mike Gatting's ill-judged attempt to reverse sweep the occasional spin of his Australian counterpart, Allan Border. Bill Athey made 58 but, left needing a challenging 17 off the final over, England came up seven runs short against their Ashes rivals.

 

1992 – PAKISTAN'S CORNERED TIGERS ROAR

Rain had already denied England what appeared set to be a routine win over Pakistan in the truncated group stage prior to the teams meeting again in the final. Captain Imran Khan had rallied his Pakistan squad, dubbed "cornered tigers", to spark an impressive recovery following a sorry start to the tournament.

Dropped on nine by Gooch, Khan top-scored with 72 to steer Pakistan to 249-6, an impressive total considering they had managed only 70 runs by the halfway stage. Opener Ian Botham failed to trouble the scorers as England slipped to 69-4 and while Allan Lamb and Neil Fairbrother engineered a recovery mission, England's hopes were sunk by two wickets in as many deliveries from Wasim Akram. Their innings ended with four balls to spare, all out for 227.

 

2015 – TRANS-TASMAN MAULING IN MELBOURNE

Joint-hosts Australia and New Zealand met at the MCG in front of a crowd of 93,013. Some of those in attendance may not have made it to their seats by the time the inspirational Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum was cleaned up by Mitchell Starc in the first over. The Kiwis never recovered from the early setback, despite a valiant 83 from Grant Elliott.

A paltry 183 never looked to be enough, even with Aaron Finch sent back without troubling the scorers. Michael Clarke's 74 in his final ODI appearance led the way for Australia, who rushed across the finishing line with 16.5 overs to spare to be crowned champions for a fourth time in five editions.

 

England's Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow walked to the crease with the eyes of the cricket world on them.

The pre-tournament favourites and hosts were on the brink of a surprising Cricket World Cup elimination, knowing victories against India - and then New Zealand - were virtually essential to book a place in the semi-finals.

A string of unexpected defeats, defined by unsuccessful run chases, had a nation on edge, but on this occasion at least, against India, Roy and Bairstow had the chance to write the script. The chance to set the tone. The chance to keep England's World Cup dreams alive.

A breathtaking 160-run partnership in just 22.1 overs followed, the England pair negotiating their way through a tricky opening period before freeing the arms in the fashion fans have come to expect.

Roy, back from a hamstring injury, had the best seat in the house as a fired-up Bairstow thrashed 10 fours and six sixes in a scintillating 111. 

Bairstow's opening partner fell for 66 but the damage was done, England pushing to a total of 337-7 that would prove far too much for India.

Another must-win match followed and so did a big opening partnership.

Roy (60) and Bairstow (106) added 123 in 18.4 overs on this occasion, again setting the platform for a 300-plus score that England's bowlers comfortably defended against New Zealand.

England then headed into a semi-final against the old enemy, Australia, with their mojo back. 

And the attacking brand of cricket that saw England claim the world number one ranking in the 50-over format was on full display in that contest, too.

Roy and Bairstow faced a different challenge, chasing on that occasion, but the result was exactly the same: another 100-plus partnership in quick time. 

Set 224 for victory, Roy was the main aggressor this time, walloping five sixes in a 65-ball 85 before an unjust dismissal. Bairstow added 34, too, as they wiped 124 from the target in 17.2 overs, effectively ending the game as a contest with a mix of timing, game awareness and, of course, customary aggression.

The contribution of new-ball bowlers Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer in England's recent resurgence cannot be denied, but it is Roy and Bairstow who have been the driving forces.

Of the 14 century-plus partnerships for the first wicket at the World Cup, Roy and Bairstow have provided four in just seven attempts. A 95-run partnership between the duo came in a clash against West Indies, too.

And the pair's importance to England was highlighted by the three matches that Roy missed. England lost two of those, stand-in James Vince and Bairstow combining for opening stands of 44, 1 and 0.

All of that means that the New Zealand camp will arrive at Lord's on Sunday having spent honours analysing, reviewing, fretting and plotting. Just how do they get Roy and Bairstow early?

England's success at the top of the order comes in stark contrast to New Zealand's early efforts with the bat.

The Black Caps have only produced only one opening stand of 100 runs or more at the World Cup, Martin Guptill and the now-dropped Colin Munro providing it against Sri Lanka in the third match of the tournament, almost six weeks ago.

Guptill and Munro combined for an unbeaten 137-run union on that occasion but the opening partnerships since - 35, 0, 12, 0, 5, 29, 2 and 1 - make grim reading for New Zealand fans.

Munro lost his place after a six-wicket defeat to Pakistan but his replacement, Henry Nicholls, has scored just 36 runs in three matches. Guptill, the leading run-scorer at the 2015 World Cup with 547, has managed only 167 in eight matches at the 2019 edition, and that tally includes a first-up 73 not out.

"No one is more frustrated than what I am," Guptill told 1 News.

The consequence of New Zealand's poor opening partnerships is an unhealthy reliance on captain Kane Williamson and, to a lesser extent, veteran Ross Taylor. And while the experienced pair have continued to dig their side out of trouble, another poor start in the final could prove costly.

Roy and Bairstow have provided England with an incredible source of momentum throughout this World Cup.

One more match-defining partnership from the pair will go a long way to helping England win the tournament for the first time.

When England and New Zealand met in the Cricket World Cup four years ago, Eoin Morgan and Kane Williamson had little influence upon the direction of an explosive contest.

Williamson dutifully compiled an unbeaten nine from 22 balls after a Brendon McCullum shellacking effectively ended the contest before he was called upon.

A year later, when McCullum stepped aside, Williamson took the reins as skipper of one of the most exciting sides in world cricket, ready to repeatedly make his mark.

The main problem for Morgan in being at the mercy of an eight-wicket defeat with 226 balls to spare, with no discernible means of turning the tide at any stage, was him already being the England captain.

Morgs way – tearing up the script of failure 

Previously a freewheeling trailblazer of a batsmen – a contemporary cricketer as his adopted nation struggled frequently and embarrassingly with the realities of the modern limited-overs game – Morgan was appointed two months ahead of an England World Cup campaign doomed to shambles.

His innovative, 360-degree strokeplay disintegrated into 90 runs across five innings during an ignominious group-stage exit.

Morgan was unable to stitch up reopened wounds from previous failures but, in tandem with Paul Fabrace and Trevor Bayliss, he ensured those scars would not be his own.

This England, Morgan's England, would play in their captain's image. A rollercoaster series against McCullum's New Zealand was the launchpad for a fearless approach where wickets lost or runs conceded were not to temper ambition.

Where previous captains unsuccessfully begged team-mates not to go into their shells, England version 2.0 had a skipper for whom shackles had always been there to break. Morgan was a leader by example, first and foremost.

Kane the run machine 

The example set by Williamson in that eventual 3-2 series defeat to England could scarcely have been better as he registered scores of 45, 93, 118, 90 and 50 – Morgan's own 50, 88, 71 and 113 before a final-game duck were similarly spectacular – and he took on captaincy for the World Twenty20 in 2016.

While McCullum's aggressive leadership had roots in his bludgeoning shot-making, Williamson the skipper instantly appeared every bit as shrewd and calculated as his unfailing deflections down to third man.

The Black Caps won four consecutive matches in India before a semi-final loss to England. Williamson led them superbly on the sort of slow, turning pitches they had previously struggled to negotiate.

Style and substance

Morgan grabbed the headlines with a record-breaking century against Afghanistan during the group stage of this World Cup, smashing a remarkable 17 sixes.

It was a desert island innings – the sort of performance you might pick as the one piece of cricket viewing to keep you sustained in isolation. Williamson's knocks do not usually fall into that category, although he is the batsman you would pick to make runs in any conditions if your life depended on it.

His only score below 40 in the tournament came when Mark Wood deflected a drive fortuitously back onto the stumps at the non-striker's end when the finalists met during the round-robin phase.

That body of work includes two centuries and a pair of fifties, the latter of which – a perfectly judged 67 against India as the roof appeared to be falling in on New Zealand's sodden Manchester semi-final – made a place at Lord's possible. Williamson is a sure thing.

England do not rely on the mercurial Morgan to the same extent. But whether Jofra Archer is tormenting opposition batsmen with laser-guided aggression, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow are ruggedly disassembling the opposition attack or Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett are bending the middle overs to their will, everything England do at their best takes its cue from his planning and calm conviction.

Weathering the storm

Stepping out at Lord's on Sunday will feel sweeter for two steely competitors who know they had to tackle adversity to get there.

The group-stage wobble of back-to-back defeats against Sri Lanka and Australia saw England's approach and their captain's stomach for the fight questioned. At a crossroads, Morgan doubled down and the hosts took apart the three best teams in the competition one after the other.

Although it felt more measured than Kevin Pietersen's social media yapping about Morgan, former Australia captain Michael Clarke and McCullum both wondered aloud whether Williamson was too conservative a leader for a country whose recent successes came on the front foot.

When it mattered most against India, the 28-year-old judged everything impeccably, never missing a beat in a game that pulsed with tension.

The influence of their 2015 mismatch upon New Zealand and England's respective directions of travel since has been well documented but this time, far from being swept along in the noise and confusion, Morgan and Williamson's fingerprints will be all over every moment of this Lord's showdown.

It will be a triumph hard-earned and richly deserved when one side lifts the trophy they both desire most.

England will bid to bring 'cricket home' at Lord's on Sunday when they face New Zealand in the World Cup final.

The home of cricket will host a clash between two countries seeking their first ever World Cup triumph.

Eoin Morgan's England crushed Australia by eight wickets in the second semi-final, after Kane Williamson's Black Caps stunned India at Old Trafford in their last-four encounter.

Here we take a look at the Opta numbers behind Sunday's showpiece.

 

6 - Whichever team lifts the trophy at the weekend will become the sixth nation to win the World Cup - after West Indies, India, Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

2 - England have met New Zealand in two previous ODIs at Lord's, the Black Caps winning on both occasions - by five wickets in 2013 and 51 runs in 2008.

548 - No New Zealander has scored more runs at a World Cup than Williamson has managed in this edition.

4 out of 5 - The team that has won the toss has lost four of the previous five World Cup finals. Australia's victory over Sri Lanka in 2007 is the exception.

275 - The highest successful chase in a World Cup final came in 2011 when India (277-4) beat Sri Lanka.

359 - Only one team has managed to score more than 300 in a World Cup final when batting first, Australia posting 359-2 against India 16 years ago.

1,029 - England (2,942) have scored 1,029 more runs than New Zealand (1,913) at the tournament, though they played an extra group game as the Black Caps' fixture with India was washed out.

100 - Morgan's men have been explosive in obtaining those runs too, scoring 100 more fours and 53 more maximums than their upcoming opponents.

3 - Jason Roy's return to the side has coincided with three consecutive century stands alongside Jonny Bairstow. There have been never been four successive opening partnerships worth three figures in England's ODI history.

338 - No bowler has produced more dot balls than England paceman Jofra Archer's 338. New Zealand seamer Trent Boult (320) is third on the list behind Australia's Pat Cummins (323).

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