4th over: New Zealand 22-0 (Guptill 17, Nicholls 3) Guptill has decided that if you’re in a bad trot, you might as well whack it. He upper-cuts Archer, flirting with disaster as Rashid lurks at third man, but getting a six. And then he comes down the track again and hits a drop-kick for four. Nothing wrong with his temperament.
3rd over: New Zealand 10-0 (Guptill 6, Nicholls 2) Nicholls does two things right, calling for that review and then getting off the mark with a regulation nudge. But the ball is moving around for both the bowlers. Good toss to lose.
“Watching, listening, reading,” says Peter Gibbs in Selsey, “but not necessarily in that order. Mum’s one pleasure is cricket, so we have to pay for it anyway but this is how I do things normally. I for one will not desert you Tim./fellow OBOers.” That’s the spirit. All the best to your mum.
It was a great ball, except that it was going over middle and off. What a good review.
To Woakes. Straight enough, back pad, maybe a touch high?
2nd over: New Zealand 8-0 (Guptill 6, Nicholls 0) Jofra Archer thinks he’s got Guptill! Caught behind. It looks out for all the world, but Marais Erasmus says no, and he’s spot on – the ball, a gorgeous lifter going up the slope, took the outside edge of the trousers.
“My first OBO email,” says Matthew Kentridge, “moved by your great (and poignant) piece in the Observer about going to the 1975 WC final. I went to the final in 1983. I was 19, a student in Johannesburg. Landed at Heathrow early on Saturday 25 June and went straight to Lord’s with my dad. It was only my second time at Lord’s – the first was on a freezing wet day in April a few years before, where I was one of about six people in the ground watching Middlesex eke out what felt like 100 runs in a full day’s play. This couldn’t have been more different: a hot day, ground absolutely packed, and the best team in the world about to win a third successive world cup. For a South African who had never before seen international cricket, it was absolutely sensational to be there, to see these impossible heroes, whom I’d only ever read about, in the flesh. I was as stunned as everyone else when Kapil Dev pulled off a miracle and propelled India to the title – I had thought West Indies absolutely invincible – a lesson in the fact that the best can lose. Since SA’s ignominious departure from this tournament, I’m backing England to win the damn cup already. Let’s hope Kane Williamson doesn’t do a Kapil Dev today.” Little-known fact about Matthew Kentridge: he’s my next-door neighbour.
1st over: New Zealand 5-0 (Guptill 4, Nicholls 0) Woakes finds his line after that one aberration. Guptill, an explosive player who has been a damp squib lately, tries going down the track, but mistimes his shot and gets no run. Next ball, staying in his crease, he fends uppishly and gets four to Ben Stokes’s left. “Is this the little bit of luck you need?” asks Brendon McCullum. There’s some swing for Woakes. He has a wonderful record at Lord’s, but bowled too short here against Australia the other day.
With a wide, from Chris Woakes, of all people – Mr Immaculate. Martin Guptill throws the kitchen sink at it and misses.
Woakes opens the bowling to start the final. Photograph: Alastair Grant/AP
“England fan joining from Norway,” says Brendan Large. “Absolutely bricking it…we finally have the best team and that makes me more nervous about the outcome! Have to say that if we do have to lose the NZ team seem a nice bunch of chaps who deserve a bit more credit than they seem to get.
“Watching from local fire station in Tasmania,” says George Shufflebottom. “Weather as English as it gets, pouring with rain. Ironically, struggling to light a fire.”
The anthems are under way, NZ going first. The cameras find plenty of black shirts in the crowd, which is good to see.
“There’s a saying in cricket,” says Rob Eastaway, author of What Is a Googly?, on Twitter. “‘That was a good toss to lose.’ A nice bit of game theory. I reckon Eoin Morgan will be happy not to have had to make a decision in these cloudy conditions.” Agreed.
England line up for the anthems. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian The Spin: sign up and get our weekly cricket email.
If there’s one thing we know about OBO readers, it’s that you’re a cosmpolitan bunch. “Kiwis (actually Scottish) tuning in,” says Jane MacDonald, “but from Croatia not Wellington.” I’m baffled already, but I like it. “Will be OBOing it all day as we would if we were at home. A bit torn between supporting a very entertaining exciting England or the Kiwi boys – just hoping for an exciting match. Keep up the good OBO work (Marina Hyde declined obviously) and loving The Spin pod.” Quite agree – I was a guest on Thursday evening and saw for myself how good Emma John and her producer Geoff Jein are at it. They’ve done something in weeks which often takes years, and established a distinctive tone of voice, all sharp-witted levity. Also, I got to witness the most Guardian thing ever. Emma and her guests sit round a table with some tiny plastic cricketers playing on a green baize pitch. The set, dug out of Geoff Jein’s attic, was missing a ball, so Emma made one, using a dried chickpea and some red nail varnish.
NZ readers in the house! “Tuning in from Wellington,” says Tom Middlemiss. “It may be a Sunday night but work tomorrow be damned! Now I’ll have to stay up way past midnight to see the first 6 Kiwi wickets – then set alarm for 0300 to hear Roy/Bairstow smash the total in the first 25 overs. We’ll see but excited all the same!!!!” So it’s not just England fans who are prone to reflex pessimism.
“Grant here,” says Grant Marjoribanks, “currently flying from Doha to Sydney, the only time I’ve ever been grateful for inflight wifi. Loved your piece on the first World Cup final, so poignant.” Ah, thanks. “I know today means a lot to you and I respect that, but to be honest I want NZ to win so badly it hurts.” Sports fans, eh. We’re all mad.
Both teams are unchanged, as Jonny Bairstow, who tweaked a groin muscle in the semi-final, has been passed fit. Spare a thought for Moeen Ali, an integral part of this England team for the past four years, now squeezed out by the rapid rise of Archer and the enduring efficiency of Plunkett.
England 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wkt), 7 Chris Woakes, 8 Liam Plunkett, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Jofra Archer, 11 Mark Wood.
New Zealand 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Henry Nicholls, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Tom Latham (wkt), 6 Colin de Grandhomme, 7 Jimmy Neesham, 8 Lockie Ferguson, 9 Mitchell Santner, 10 Matt Henry, 11 Trent Boult.
And they will bat, Kane Wiliamson says. Recent history is on their side, but the weather may well help the bowlers early on.
New Zealand win the toss and will bat first. Photograph: Gareth Copley/IDI via Getty Images
“Joining you from Australia,” says Dr Tim. “Supporting England. Don’t fret about the drop in traffic for the OBO. I’ve had Channel 9 on the telly, TMS special on the phone, via the ABC Listen app and the OBO. Aren’t we lucky in Oz, having all this UK content freely available!” It must be early evening there – are you staying up for the whole game? And I wonder if we have anyone tuning in from New Zealand, where it’s already 9.10pm.
“I’ll not desert Guardian OBO,” says Andrew Harrison, “just because there’s (miraculously) a live stream available here in Japan. Hoping neither Boult nor Henry will do a Gary Gilmour on us. Pitch looks a bit green.” Yes, let’s hope neither side starts with a collapse.
While we wait for this delayed toss – the drama! – let’s have some emails and tweets.
“I’ve been considering,” says Tom van der Gucht, “whether I ought to watch the cricket on Channel 4 rather than on Sky. Partially to relive the glory years of the 2005 Ashes in the hope that, somehow, where I watch it empowers the team due to the quantum interconnectivity of everything, or something… But also, if it gets mega viewing figures it might hasten a return for more cricket on terrestrial TV, apart from the bloody Hundred.”
And here’s Kim Thonger. “I have a hypothetical question. If, say, one of the two captains noticed a butterfly’s wing had come very close to the coin in mid-air, and had perhaps touched it very faintly and altered its flight, and perhaps the outcome, could he ask for a review?”
And here’s Gary Naylor. “I expect England to win.” What? Are you mad, Gary? Not for thinking it, but for saying it. “For once, they have copied what other successful nations do in all sports and turned up for the final with the better players. No guarantees of course, but it does make a change.” Yes, England do have more firepower with the bat. But this NZ attack can win matches, especially under thick cloud.
More breaking news: the toss has been delayed by a quarter of an hour (to 10.15am), and so has the start (to 10.45). There was a sharp downpour this morning, and the groundstaff need a bit more time to dry the coin. Only in England.
If you’re on Instagram, there’s a memorable post by Brendon McCullum. He’s put the photo of the two captains up – the one currently sitting at the top of this page, with Kane Williamson looking suddenly camp. And he’s captioned it: “Two very fine gentlemen. Much love for them both.”
This is, in a small way, a lovely piece of writing. The first sentence expresses cricket’s traditional values, and could have been written at any time in the past century. The second could only have been written in the past decade or so, as men have belatedly got a bit better at showing their feelings. The two sentences together are strikingly even-handed, which reflects the fact that McCullum’s influence lies behind both captains. He was Williamson’s predecessor and mentor – though Williamson is his own man, with his own style, less gung-ho and more pragmatic. And he has also been Eoin Morgan’s inspiration. Morgan’s England, with their buccaneering irreverence, are more like McCullum’s New Zealand than Williamson’s New Zealand are. McCullum is the daddy – of both sides.
And the prize for the first email of the day – or the first not sent by Rob – goes to Simon McMahon. “Morning Tim.” Morning Simon. “A strange feeling of calm has descended over me this morning, at least compared to last Thursday before the semi-final. I don’t know whether this is a good or a bad thing. Probably bad. Anyway, whatever happens today I think both teams can be proud of their World Cup campaigns, and let’s hope cricket is the winner. Yeah, right. COME ON ENGLAND!!! BRING IT HOME, BOYS!!!” It’s the eternal struggle, isn’t it: between the kid in us and the grown-up, the desperate fan and the rueful spectator. At the risk of being too me-me-me, I’ve touched on this today in a piece for The Observer about going to the first World Cup final as a boy.
In the UK, the final will be shown not just on Sky Sports, as ever, but on Channel 4, as cricket returns to terrestrial television (albeit for one day only) for the first time since the famous summer of 2005. This is great news for the English game, which is in grave danger of becoming a middle-class ghetto. But it’s bloody awful news for the amalgamated union of live bloggers. There’s every chance that our UK traffic will plummet. So if you’re reading now, or planning to have two screens on in the modern manner, do send us an email saying where you are and what you think.
Rob Smyth will be along later, but is he putting his feet up in the meantime? He is not. “The last five ODIs at Lord’s, including four games in this tournament, have been won by the team batting first,” he writes. Do you sense a but coming? “But in the game before that run started, England were 20 for six v South Africa.”
Morning everyone. So, today’s the big day. It’s the men’s singles final at Wimbledon. It’s the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. It’s even, as I discovered driving home last night, the Dog Show in Rockingham. But then all those things happen every year. In St John’s Wood, London, just round the corner from the Beatles’ zebra crossing, something is happening that hasn’t happened for 27 years. ENGLAND ARE IN THE CRICKET WORLD CUP FINAL.
It was in 1992, in Melbourne, that England last appeared in this fixture. They bowled well enough against Imran Khan’s Pakistan, and had the game under control, until Wasim Akram destroyed them with two balls of the greatest reverse swing you will ever goggle at in disbelief. To find England in a World Cup final in England, you have to wind the videotape of life back even further, to 1979. Yes, it’s 40 years since these hosts last made it to their own party. To remember that day, you have to be middle-aged now; to have reported it, you have to be a pensioner.
Breaking news: there is another team in this match, and they come trailing no such melancholy stats. New Zealand have reached their second successive World Cup final. But they do have their own version of 30 years of hurt, because they’ve been eternal bridesmaids. They have made it to Lord’s today by an unlikely route, starting sturdily, then losing three games in a row, including one against England. But they are over-achievers, they’re under less pressure than England, they have a strong attack, and the weather – wet this morning, due to be grey all day – could hardly be making them feel more at home. The British bookies have England as favourites; if anything, I’d have them as slight outsiders.
Play starts at 10.30am, British “summer” time.
MCC members wait in the rain to be allowed in. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian
Tim will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s Barney Ronay’s match preview.