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Black Caps opener Henry Nicholls passes fitness test, Kane Williamson declares England favourites


Black Caps opener Henry Nicholls has been cleared to play in tonight’s World Cup final against England after passing a fitness test at Lord’s.

Henry Nicholls. Source: Photosport

Nicholl’s availability will boost New Zealand, whose captain Kane Williamson was more than happy to declare England favourites in his news conference.

"I think England rightly so deserve to be favourites. Coming into this tournament from the start, they were favourites and they've been playing really good cricket," Williamson said after being asked if the Black Caps were underdogs.

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The Black Caps captain was in a playful mood with the media as he answered repeated questions about favouritism. Source: 1 NEWS

"Whatever dog we are, it's just important that we focus on the cricket that we want to play and we have seen over the years that anybody can beat anybody regardless of breed of dog," he said with a smile.

Williamson was also asked how it would feel to play the role of party-poopers for the host nation with the match set to be broadcast on free-to-air TV, which is also happening in NZ.

"Party-poopers? You talking about dogs again, eh?" he said with a smile.

"Look, we are really looking forward to the occasion and the end point and the result ... focusing too much on it, I don't think, is a positive thing."

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The Black Caps captain fielded a number of questions about whether there was more pressure on England in the Cricket World Cup final. Source: 1 NEWS

Williamson acknowledged the threat of England’s openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, who have combined in four successive century partnerships.

"Those two have been fantastic throughout this whole competition and prior as well," said the Kiwi batting mainstay.

"There is a huge amount of respect for the match-winners that they have within their side, obviously the top of the order and throughout.

"But the focus for us is very much about the cricket that we want to play and the performance we want to put on the board and if we do that, we have seen throughout this competition that anybody can beat anybody."