London (CNN)England will need 242 runs to win its first ever Cricket World Cup after restricting New Zealand to 241-8 at Lord’s on Sunday.
Henry Nicholls, the New Zealand opener, hit 55 to finish as his team’s top scorer after England’s bowlers produced an impressive display under huge pressure and expectation.
Ever since England captain Eoin Morgan hit the winning runs against Australia in Thursday’s semi-final, all the talk has been about his team reaching its first World Cup final in 27 years.
Turn on the television, pick up a newspaper, or glance at social media, and suddenly, after a tournament that has lasted six weeks and involved 48 games, the country has gone cricket crazy.
But for New Zealand, this has been about redemption. Four years ago it reached the final only to be blown away by Australia. This time, it has been determined to ensure there is a far happier ending. Victory over India in the semi-final silenced anyone holding doubts over the character of this New Zealand side.
Key to the change has been Kiwi captain Kane Williamson, one of the world’s most talented batsmen.
That England managed to reduce him to just 30 runs would have thrilled his opposite number Morgan.
With Williamson, the lynchpin of this New Zealand team gone, England set about strangling the middle order and reducing New Zealand to a total well within range.
Tom Latham, the New Zealand wicketkeeper, offered some resistance. His 47 off 56, steadied New Zealand’s cause until he was dismissed by Woakes.
England, which had failed to beat New Zealand in five previous World Cup meetings stretching back to 1983 before its recent win at Durham, will now hope its opening batsmen can pull off a repeat performance.
On that occasion, the lethal duo of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow put on 123 for the first wicket as England eased to a 119-run victory.