Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has put his money on England to lift their first World Cup crown on Sunday, saying New Zealand would find it “exceptionally hard” to beat the hosts in the summit clash.
England outplayed five-time champions Australia by eight wickets in the second semi-final in Birmingham on Thursday, and Ponting said his pre-tournament prediction about the home team is coming right.
“I think England will win,” the three-time World Cup-winner was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“I said before the tournament started that I thought they’d be exceptionally hard to beat.
“I had them as the favourites coming in, nothing changes now. New Zealand have done amazingly well to get into the final and well done to them,” he added.
Ponting lauded New Zealand for making two consecutive World Cup finals but said England boast of “too much class” for the Black Caps.
“Two consecutive World Cup finals is an awesome achievement for that group and they’ll [New Zealand] have some experiences to take out of that last final, whereas none of the England players have played in a final before,” he said.
“That being said, I think there’s just a bit too much class in this England side for them not to win.”
Ponting, assistant to coach Justin Langer in Australia’s World Cup campaign, feels the five-time champions played their worst cricket in the semi-final defeat against England.
“Unusually for Australian teams in World Cups, we played our worst cricket in the most critical moments,” he said.
“I said right at the start of the tournament you have to play your best cricket at the back end and you have to stand up in the big moments.
“We won all the big moments in the first half of the tournament and we’ve lost most of the big moments in the last couple of games,” Ponting said.