Skipper Eoin Morgan's England one-day team are already one of the best of any era, according to former Australian captain Steve Waugh.
But to go down in history they need finish off the job on Sunday and claim a historic maiden International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s Cricket World Cup crown with a win over New Zealand in the final of the 2019 edition of the marquee event at the iconic Lord's.
Waugh won two World Cups in his 19-year international career – including lifting the trophy as captain at Lord’s in 1999 – and was blown away by the way England defeated defending champions Australia by eight wickets at Edgbaston in Birmingham in Thursday’s semi-final.
“This England team play without fear and that is very difficult to do in professional sport.There is no weakness in the side, they field very well, they bat all the way down and have numerous bowling options," the ICC press release quoted Waugh as saying.
“It is one of the best one-day teams I have seen and would compete against anyone of the previous eras.But ultimately they will be judged on their performance on Sunday," he added.
“If they win that they may go down as one of the great one-day sides. If they lose then they are back to being one of the other teams that didn’t quite make it.But they have the potential to be a great one-day team,” added Waugh, who was attending the inaugural criiio cup in Trafalgar Square.
The criiio cup sees six social cricket teams from Brazil, Rwanda, Germany, England, Indonesia and India showcase the power and impact of social cricket by playing their own version of the sport in the central London fan park, two days ahead of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final at Lord’s.
Meanwhile, either England or New Zealand will make history on Sunday as first-time winners of the game’s ultimate prize. And Waugh urged the players to rise to the occasion.
"World Cup finals are about not relying on other people to do the job for you. You have got to step up to the plate. To win World Cups you have to be street-smart. It would be very important for New Zealand, it’s a great rugby country with the greatest team in the world in the All Blacks," Waugh said.
“Cricket is always hoping to get a foothold so for them to make the final and potentially win would be game-changing for New Zealand,"he added.
"England have been to three World Cup finals, and it’s a passionate country. Either side wins, it’s going to be great for their country.It’s exciting, the people get behind it and feel they are a part of it," the former Australian skipper added.