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Sports

July 13, 2019

Rise to the occasion, Waugh urges England and New Zealand

Sports

Sat, Jul 13, 2019

LONDON: The great Steve Waugh knows a thing or two about winning the World Cup.

As an unassuming youngster, he played a key role in Australia’s stunning title-winning triumph back in 1987 in the sub-continent. Then in 1999, he was Australia’s captain when they lifted the coveted crown here at Lord’s.

Waugh watched in disbelief when hosts England toyed with defending champions Australia in an eight-wicket triumph in the World Cup semi-final in Birmingham.

Having witnessed England firepower, Waugh believes that Eoin Morgan’s rampaging brigade is one of the best teams of all time.

But he was quick to add that England will need one more – against an unpredictable New Zealand in the final – to down in the annals of history as an all-conquering side.

“This England team play without fear and that is very difficult to do in professional sport,” Waugh told reporters at Trafalgar Square ahead of Sunday’s final.

“There is no weakness in the side, they field very well, they bat all the way down and have numerous bowling options.

“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.

“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.”

Waugh hoped that both England and New Zealand players will 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.

“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.”

Waugh pointed out that a World Cup title would be great for English cricket, which is currently in a desperate need for revival.

“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.”