Cricket is returning to terrestrial TV for the first time in 15 years, for one day only, as England take on New Zealand in the Cricket World Cup final.
Channel 4 has picked up the rights from Sky to air the big game on free-to-air TV and millions across the country are expected to tune in for the showpiece event.
But where is England at right now on the world stage of cricket?
You may not have tuned in to watch the England team since the rock and roll days of Freddie Flintoff, since Kevin Pietersen would torment bowlers for overs on end, since Michael Vaughan steered his country to the momentous Ashes victory in 2005.
Those boys are long gone, and a fresh batch of England stars are making waves on the world scene, with their ODI stars on the verge of claiming a first ever World Cup title.
RadioTimes.com has rounded up everything you need to know about England ahead of the Cricket World Cup final, including their CWC story so far, the key players to watch and big results from the tournament so far.
The story so far…
England went into the tournament on their home soil full of hope among the favourites with India and Australia.
However, a narrow defeat to Pakistan sandwiched between two battering victories over South Africa and Bangladesh failed to give an accurate reading on whether England could live up to expectations.
South Africa endured a miserable tournament, meaning a big result over them wasn’t necessarily a signal of intent, but England continued to pile up the wins against teams they were expected to beat.
Afghanistan was tormented by Eoin Morgan as England put up 397/6 against the minnows.
The captain produced the innings of the tournament with 148 runs off just 71 balls including an all-time ODI world record of 17 sixes for himself.
England was quickly brought down to earth though, as a damaging defeat to Sri Lanka and rivals Australia, coinciding with the upturn in form of Pakistan left the side in a precarious position with the two hottest teams of the tournament, India and New Zealand left to play.
Opener James Vince was dismissed for zero in his second ball, leading to instability from the off, and that proved to be his final appearance in the tournament after underwhelming numbers in the top order.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan claimed this could be England worst World Cup ever if they failed to qualify in the top four, while batsman Jonny Bairstow hit back at Vaughan and rows erupted between the pair.
The next time Bairstow stood at the crease he proved Vaughan wrong with 111 from 109 balls against the unbeaten, fearsome India side many people were starting to believe would walk their way to the trophy.
England won by 31 runs thanks to an excellent opening partnership from Jason Roy and Bairstow, while Chris Woakes bowled and caught opener KL Rahul for a duck and Liam Plunkett secured a hat-trick of wickets including that of Virat Kholi.
It all came down to England’s display in Durham against New Zealand, but their opponents were all-but killed off after 15 overs of their innings.
England posted an impressive 305/8 total to chase, and New Zealand had already lost four wickets by the time of reaching 69 runs in 15 overs.
Mark Wood took a trio of wickets on his home ground to decimate the middle and bottom order meaning New Zealand could only post a tame score of 186 in their 44 overs before being dismissed.
England had recaptured their fire after a mixed bag of results and despite finishing third, they appeared to be the team to beat after dispatching India and New Zealand, while Australia suffered a shock defeat to South Africa during their final game.
Morgan’s men entered the Australia semi-final clash full of confidence and were quickly on the front foot as Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer dismissed dangerous openers David Warner and Aaron Finch for just 10 runs between them.
Peter Handscomb also fell as the Aussies slumped to a humiliating 14/3 after six overs.
Steve Smith hung on in the crease but England’s hungry bowlers picked off his partners and held Australia to 223.
The opening duo of Roy and Bairstow once again stepped up with a terrific platform before Roy was controversially dismissed. He was caught behind but replays showed his bat didn’t connect with the ball but England had already unsuccessfully used their challenge on a Bairstow lbw.
However, they were the only two wickets to fall as Root and Morgan racked up strong 40+ totals to catch Australia after just 32 remarkable overs.
Bowling sensation Archer has struggled for fitness and form during the World Cup but he appears to have found his feet and showed his class at the right time in the semi-finals.
England are going into the final in hot form and will relish the chance to face New Zealand at Lord’s, the home of cricket, with their key men firing on all cylinders with bat and ball.
England Cricket team results
Match 1: England v
South Africa – England won by 104 runs
England v Pakistan – Pakistan won by 14 runs
Match 3: England v
Bangladesh – England won by 106 runs
Match 4: England v
West Indies – England won by 8 wickets
Match 5: England v
Afghanistan – England won by 150 runs
England v Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka won by 20 runs
England v Australia – Australia won by 64 runs
Match 8: England v
India – England won by 31 runs
Match 9: England v
New Zealand – England won by 119 runs
Australia v England – England won by 8 wickets
England Cricket team best players
Jason Roy & Jonny Bairstow – Quite simply England’s most important players in the Cricket World Cup. Getting off to a solid start is vital and more often than not, Roy and Bairstow have raced up to a strong tally with aggressive confidence in their abilities.
Joe Root – Once the opening partnership is disbanded, there’s barely a batsman in the world you’d rather come in to fill the No. 3 spot. Root has consistently kept the momentum going with 40+ totals in seven of his 10 World Cup innings’ so far – including two centuries.
Jofra Archer – As mentioned, questions were raised over Archer’s fitness following a day to forget against Pakistan when he conceded 79 runs without picking up a wicket. Since then, Archer upped his game to take three wickets in each of his next four matches. He’s sitting on 19 for the tournament now, behind only Mustafizur Rahman and Mitchell Starc.
England Cricket team players to watch
Ben Stokes – The Durham all-rounder is just as capable of taking a wicket as he is with a bat in hand. Stokes’ top four totals in the World Cup stand at 89, 89, 82 and 79. He is often the perfect tonic as the batting order begins to creak, and has the ability to give England a second wind if the game looks to be drifting away from them.
Jos Buttler – The middle-order batsman has averaged just over 30 runs per innings in the tournament so far, and remains one of England’s most subdued stars. The big-hitter admitted there is room for improvement and will be determined to produce a match-winning display once (or if…) Roy, Bairstow and Root are dismissed in the final.
England Cricket team stats
- Joe Root – 549 (from 10 innings)
- Jonny Bairstow – 496 (from 10 innings)
- Jason Roy – 426 (from 6 innings)
- Jofra Archer – 19 (from 10 innings)
- Mark Wood – 17 (from 10 innings)
- Chris Woakes – 13 (from 10 innings)