In Brief

Cricket World Cup: England believe the best is yet to come

Liam Plunkett is confident ahead of must-win clash against New Zealand

England vs. New Zealand
  • What: match 41 of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup 
  • When: Wednesday 3 July  
  • Where: The Riverside Durham, Chester-le-Street  
  • Start time: 10.30am (BST) 
  • TV channel: live on Sky Sports 

England face New Zealand on Wednesday in a match they must win to ensure their qualification for the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup. 

The hosts rediscovered their winning touch against India on Sunday and one of the standout performers from that victory, Liam Plunkett, was in bullish mood when he addressed the press.

“We’ve got momentum now and know we can beat anyone on our day,” said the bowler, who finished with figures of 3-55 against the Indians.

Asked what encouraged him most about Sunday’s win, coming as it did with the squad under great scrutiny from the press and the public, Plunkett replied: “We don’t go into our shell. As [captain] Eoin Morgan always says, it’s time to be positive, time to go the opposite way when you get beaten. 

“You’ve got to play a positive brand of cricket and back yourself and that’s what we’ve done, we have played a good Indian team and beaten them.”

As for New Zealand, they are experiencing the same mini slump that afflicted England ten days ago, but Plunkett is expecting nothing other than a fiercely-contested match. 

“It’s going to be a tough game, they’re obviously a good team and there is some good talent in their team,” he said. “We need to perform well but if we turn up and play our best cricket we can win that game. 

“We believe we’re good enough, we just need to put everything together and I believe if we play our best cricket we’ll win that cup.”

Kiwis creaking

After an impressive start to their World Cup campaign the Kiwis have creaked of late, losing to Pakistan on Wednesday before being battered by the Aussies at Lord’s on Saturday. 

While they are still looking on course to qualify, the New Zealanders are desperate to beat England but Black Caps batting coach Craig McMillan has said he won’t ditch the out-of-form batsmen Martin Guptill and Tom Latham despite the pair coming under pressure from the media. 

“We know we’ve got two world-class players and at their best they’re going to help the team win games,” said McMillan. “We’re backing them, there’s still some cricket to be played and they will come to the fore.”

Sri Lanka win run-fest

Sri Lanka beat the West Indies in a high-scoring game in a glimpse of what they might have achieved if they had been more consistent earlier in the tournament. 

The Sri Lankans have missed out on qualification for the semis, but they are bowing out in style, racking up a colossal 338-6 with Avishka Fernando smashing 104 in 103 balls. 

“When I went in I was very happy that I did what was required,” said man-of-the-match Avishka. “We batted and bowled well and I’m very happy to get a hundred in a win.”

Faced with making a record run chase in a World Cup match, the Windies gave it a good shot, posting 315-9 thanks largely to a dazzling knock from Nicholas Pooran in which he scored 118 off only 103 balls.

Rihanna knocks the Windies for six

Although the Windies lost they can at least boast the most famous supporter at the World Cup - pop superstar Rihanna. 

It’s not often - in fact it may be a first - that Durham has hosted the Barbadian singer but she looked to be enjoying the atmosphere at Chester-le-Street. 

The West Indies squad were certainly delighted with their special guest. In a post on Twitter the Windies said: “Look who came to #Rally with the #MenInMaroon.”

ICC Cricket World Cup fixtures

All matches are live on Sky Sports

Group fixtures
  • Tuesday 2 July: Bangladesh vs. India (10.30am)
  • Wednesday 3 July: England vs. New Zealand (10.30am)
  • Thursday 4 July: Afghanistan vs. West Indies (10.30am)
  • Friday 5 July: Pakistan vs. Bangladesh (10.30am)
  • Saturday 6 July: Sri Lanka vs. India (10.30am); Australia vs. South Africa (1.30pm)
  • Tuesday 9 July: 1st place vs. 4th place (10.30am; Old Trafford, Manchester) 
  • Thursday 11 July: 2nd place vs. 3rd place (10.30am; Edgbaston, Birmingham)
Cricket World Cup final 
  • Sunday 14 July: 10.30am at Lord’s, London


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