New Zealand must overcome raucous MCG crowd to win World Cup, says Andy Bichel
'Black Caps will probably be knighted if their prevail on Sunday'
By Andy Bichel
Last Updated: 28/03/15 11:35am
New Zealand thoroughly deserve their World Cup final spot, says ICC columnist Andy Bichel, but can they cope with the MCG cauldron?
For both Australia and New Zealand, the World Cup has been a cricket promoter’s dream. If junior numbers don’t increase after this, then cricket has no chance.
New Zealand is a country dominated by rugby but has been transfixed by what’s been happening in front of their eyes with the success of their team in this World Cup.
Now is a new challenge for them, though, playing for the first time in Australia. I believe this won’t really play a huge factor because it’s mainly been about the way New Zealand have been going about this tactically.
Trent Boult and Tim Southee have been excellent up front with the new ball, so they will enjoy the extra bounce from the MCG wicket, while Brendon McCullum has attacked the quickies at the top of order like no other. If he can get the Kiwis off to another flying start, it will help them structure their innings.
They also have a number of other players playing well. This has given this group their best chance ever of winning an ICC Cricket World Cup. The journey up to this point has been an amazing ride for all the players, I am sure.
Straight after the Champions League last year in October, Brendon McCullum and his team visited the MCG and they spoke about Marc 29 when they would return here and play in the World Cup final. So, you might say excellent preparation by the management staff at New Zealand cricket.
Australia have already had that experience of the MCG with their first game against England where they played so well and launched their World Cup campaign. I happened to be there to feel the atmosphere and it was just brilliant, 84,000 people really enjoying every minute.
This will be New Zealand’s challenge, playing in a stadium like this and not having the same support. New Zealand have played all their matches in their country at some of the smaller and most unique grounds.
I am sure plenty of Black Caps followers will be making the journey as I write because this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but they are going to have to fight like anything to beat Australia, who are playing with plenty of confidence delivering under pressure.
With only one game to go and to complete the fairytale of these teams, 22 players that will take to field on Sunday afternoon and only 11 will hold the prize at the end. It will take a special effort from someone, so any of the players can make a difference and may potentially have a huge imprint on the outcome.
It will be a spectacle come Sunday, as both these teams deserve to be out there. Coming into the tournament both these teams were on the short list but now they are here.
New Zealand players will probably be knighted if they win and will always be remembered for this amazing performance to date, it’s the best by a country mile.
For the Australian players, the incentive is that they will have a chance to win in their own backyard and match India’s achievement. When all’s said and done, the side that stays focussed, blocks all distractions and do what they came at the MCG for will win!
Column from www.icc-cricket.com courtesy of 2015 © ICC Development (International) Limited.