England eye World Cup glory

File: England's captain Eoin Morgan (R) and Joe Root celebrate victory after beating Australia by eight wickets.

File: England's captain Eoin Morgan (R) and Joe Root celebrate victory after beating Australia by eight wickets.

AFP/Paul Ellis

LONDON - Eoin Morgan's England face New Zealand at Lord's on Sunday desperate to win the World Cup for the first time after four years of hard graft.

When England exited the 2015 tournament after an embarrassing defeat by Bangladesh, few tipped them as potential champions four years later.

As captain Morgan put it: "If you had offered us the position to play in a final the day after we were knocked out of the 2015 World Cup, I would have laughed at you."

England, now top of the one-day international rankings, thrashed reigning champions Australia by eight wickets in the semi-final at Edgbaston with the kind of performance that justified their billing as pre-tournament favourites.

READ: England must block out 'noise' ahead of World Cup final, says Bayliss

Pacemen Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes destroyed the top order, leg-spinner Adil Rashid chipped in and the dynamic duo of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow launched the run chase with another blistering century partnership. 

Australian World Cup-winning captain Steve Waugh said England could go down as one of the greatest teams in one-day international history if they win on Sunday.

But the challenge for the host nation, as they seek a first title in the 44-year history of the World Cup, is to embrace Sunday's occasion at Lord's without it inhibiting their "fearless" brand of cricket.  

"It's the culmination of four years of hard work and dedication, a lot of planning and it presents a huge opportunity to go on and try and win a World Cup," said Morgan.

Source
AFP