As England take on New Zealand in the big final at Lord’s on Sunday, both teams will be eyeing their maiden World Cup title. Last time when both the teams met in the group stage and England defeated New Zealand, breaking a 27-year-old record.New Zealand beat favourites India to seal the final spot, England thrashed arch-rivals Australia by eight wickets to set up the final date.England are totted as clear favourites but one can’t underestimate New Zealand, after seeing the quality of cricket they produced to knock out table toppers India in the semi-final.While both teams have quality bowling attacks, the batting of the New Zealand outfit is something that will definitely bother the Kiwis, especially the poor form of experienced opener Martin Guptill. While his direct hit to dismiss M.S. Dhoni did change the outcome of the semi-final between India and New Zealand, he would wish to give the Kiwis a good start at the top. And there is a positive in there.To be fair to the Kiwis, while the bowling attack of the two teams looks almost at par on paper, England’s batting has a lot more depth as compared to the Kiwis, and Kane Williamson’s boys will have their task cut out if they are to clean the batting up. But then, on a given day, anything can happen and the New Zealand players will definitely take confidence from their semi-final encounter against India.New Zealand vs England Final, Lord’s Weather: Updates from LondonadvertisementThe weather, after troubling the cricketers right through the tournament, is expected to be bright and sunny and that should mean a slight advantage to the batsmen. The wickets to have started to get slower and the bowlers have been using a lot of cutters recently.A high of 22 C (72 F) is expected on Sunday. Sunny spells are anticipated and it will feel comfortable for fans enjoying the sporting events.”Fans in open seating areas will want to make sure to have hats, sunglasses and sun cream,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Bill Deger. Screen grab from AccuWeatherALSO READ | Come on England: 101 former cricketers wish their team good luck ahead of World Cup 2019 finalALSO READ | World Cup 2019: Australia played their worst cricket in the most critical moments, says Ricky PontingALSO WATCH | World Cup 2019: Rohit Sharma has been batsman of the tournament, says Michael Clarke
New York: Pakistan’s real “existential threat” is not India but its “internal extremists” and the terror groups like the TTP, former CIA Director Gen David Petraeus has said as he hoped that Prime Minister Imran Khan will be able to deal with the challenges facing the country. Petraeus, during an interactive session at the Indian Consulate here on Tuesday following his address on the topic of the Indo-Pacific, said Prime Minister Khan is facing a daunting challenge in his country where the economy is “very distorted” and the “realities of the situation are really quiet difficult.” Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”The challenge for Pakistan, of course, is that the existential threat is not the country to its east, it is not India. It is the internal extremists. It is a very diabolically difficult problem to deal with,” he said. Petraeus, a partner in the international investment firm KKR and Chairman of the KKR Global Institute, was the special guest for the ‘New India Lecture’ series organised by the Consulate General of India, New York in partnership with the US India Strategic Partnership Forum. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsResponding to a question on US-Pakistan relationship, Petraeus said he has experienced the bilateral ties “on a very first hand basis” as the Commander of the US Central Command around the year 2009 and there have been some “positive” as well as “disappointing and frustrating periods” in ties between Washington and Islamabad. He added that the US has always provided “enormous” support to Pakistan, recalling that he and former special adviser on Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke went to the US Congress and got USD 7.5 billion for economic assistance for Pakistan over a five-year period, which was in addition to the USD two billion already extended in various categories of defence assistance and counter-terrorism support. “At the end of the day, of course there was a degree of disappointment,” he said. On Afghanistan, the veteran and decorated US military officer said while the Afghans are fighting and dying for their country, “sadly the momentum of recent years has been against Afghanistan rather than for it”.
Thiruvananthapuram: The in-form Shubman Gill will renew his quest for selection into the senior team when India ‘A’ take on South Africa ‘A’ in the first unofficial Test beginning here from Monday. The highly-rated Gill will lead the team in the first of the two four-day matches, with veteran ‘keeper Wriddhiman Saha captaining in the second. The teams for both the matches are a mix of experience and youth. The first game will see Karnataka all-rounder K Gowtham and Andhra wicket-keeper K S Bharat get a go. The former was in his element during the ‘A’ team’s tour of the Caribbean and shone in the Karnataka Premier League too. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhBharat has showcased his skills with the gloves and bat in the several games he has played for India ‘A’ in the past year or so and has been close to selection in the senior team. With Rishab Pant becoming the first-choice ‘keeper across formats in the absence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and with the selectors likely to manage his workload, the focus will be on the likes of Bharat to replace him whenever he is given a break. Bharat and Saha are among those in the fray for the second ‘keeper’s slot and their performances will be watched with interest. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterThe focus will also be on openers Priyank Panchal and Abhimanyu Easwaran though the duo will feature only in the second match, to be played in Mysuru from September 17. The two batsmen have scored heavily for Gujarat and Bengal respectively in the past few seasons with Easwaran slamming a big century in the Duleep Trophy final that concluded on Saturday. With K L Rahul not in the best of form, the duo will be keen to put in a strong performance against a quality SA ‘A’ attack that includes, among others, the sharp Lungi Ngidi, who is coming back from an injury. All-rounders Vijay Shankar and Shivam Dube will figure in both matches. The Tamil Nadu player who returned mid-way from the World Cup due to an injury and made a comeback during the TNPL only to get injured again and miss the limited-overs leg of ‘A’ series, gets an opportunity to underline his credentials. Mumbai player Dube, on the other hand, has impressed in the recent five-match unofficial ODIs against SA ‘A’, showing an ability to get quick runs. He will be eager to perform in the longer format, too, and catch the selectors’ eye. Jharkhand left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem has been a consistent performer over the years and starred in the ‘A’ team’s recent win against West Indies ‘A’ in the Caribbean. The Proteas ‘A’ team, led by Aiden Markram, seen as a future senior team captain, includes several players with international experience. Markram and the rest will look to gain experience of playing in sub-continent with the Test series to follow the T20 Internationals. The series will also serve as good preparation for Ngidi, who is part of the Test squad. He had struggled with a hamstring injury during the World Cup and played only four of the side’s nine matches in the tournament in England. Teams: India A: Shubman Gill (captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Anmolpreet Singh, Ricky Bhui, Ankeet Bawne, KS Bharat (wicket-keeper), K Gowtham, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Tushar Deshpande, Shivam Dube, Vijay Shankar. South Africa ‘A’: Aiden Markram (captain), Theunis de Bruyn, Zubayr Hamza, Lungi Ngidi, George Linde, Pieter Malan, Eddie Moore, Senuran Muthusamy, Marco Jansen, Dane Piedt, Wiaan Mulder, Heinrich Klaasen, Lutho Sipamla, Khaya Zondo. Agencies