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July 13, 2019

There will be more pressure on England, feels NZ coach

Sports

July 13, 2019

LONDON: Many see New Zealand as the underdogs against a rampaging England side in the ICC World Cup final here at Lord’s on Sunday despite the Black Caps’ stunning 18-run triumph against favourites India in the semi-finals.

But tell that to Gary Stead, New Zealand’s coach, and he will tell you that there are no underdogs in a World Cup final. “I think when we play on Sunday we will have a 50-50 chance of winning (the final),” Stead told reporters here at Lord’s on Friday.

“We just need to be little bit better than England on Sunday,” he added. “We are excited about the opportunity. “My understanding is it’s on free to air back home also, which is awesome,” he said.

“Many people will stay up late and I know a lot of them will be spending some late hours. Monday might be a public holiday back home because most of New Zealand will be staying up watching the game.

“We’ve had a lot of supportive messages and we’re really excited about what’s ahead,” he said. Stead was impressed by the “steeliness” his players have exhibited in their march to the World Cup finale.

“There are a lot of positive things. There is a real fight and steeliness in the way we’ve played,” he said. Stead rejected the impression that New Zealand will need to punch above their weight to counter England, who are being seen as hot favourites to win their maiden World Cup title.

“We don’t need to play the perfect game. We just need to be able to adapt to the conditions. Sometimes even 240 is a good score,” he said referring to his team’s victory in the low-scoring semi-final against India at Old Trafford.

Stead believes that New Zealand, who also reached the final of the 2015 World Cup, have a lot of experience. “We have the experience. There are several guys on the team who played the final (in 2015). I hope we put our best foot forward in the final. In the end it’s a game of cricket. One team is going to win and the other won’t.”

Stead pointed out that because of heavy expectations at home, England would be the side under more pressure in the final. “There will be pressure on both teams. Both have finals experience of playing in (World Cup) finals. England will be under more pressure because of all the home expectations.”

Neither England nor New Zealand have ever won the World Cup. Stead commented that it would be good to see a new team winning the coveted title on Sunday. About the win against India, Stead said that his team adapted well to the tricky conditions at Old Trafford. “Initially we thought about a score of 300 but then we decided even 250 would be good,” he said.

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