Four years ago, in the World Cup final, New Zealand were a little overawed by the occasion and struggled to produce their best cricket against Australia.
At Lord’s on Sunday, Ross Taylor believes the Black Caps will know what to expect and be better prepared to cope with the challenges of an ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final.
Taylor is one of six members of the current squad who played in the 2015 final, with New Zealand losing by seven wickets to Australia in Melbourne, having played the rest of the tournament on home soil to that point.
But ahead of either a rematch with their trans-Tasman foes, or a clash with hosts England at Lord’s, Taylor insists New Zealand will be ready.
He said: “It was strange last time. We played so well throughout the tournament but then jumped on a plane and played in a country we hadn’t played in for the whole tournament.
“I’d be lying if I said we weren’t a bit overawed by the change of scenery. I think we know what to expect, the pressures that come with it, we’ve been there before.
“You just have to enjoy it, it’s the Home of Cricket, I can’t think of a better place to play a final.
“Whether it’s England or Australia, we have to enjoy the moment, put our best foot forward and hope for the best.”
Taylor played a crucial role in New Zealand reaching the final, top-scoring for the Black Caps with 74 in an 18-run victory over India at Old Trafford in a semi-final played over two days.
After battling to 239 for eight, Matt Henry and Trent Boult combined to reduce India to 24 for four, and despite a fightback from Ravindra Jadeja (77) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (50), the target proved beyond India with Jimmy Neesham taking a stunning catch to remove Dinesh Karthik and Martin Guptill effectively sealing it with a sensational run-out of Dhoni.
For Taylor, unbeaten on 67 overnight after rain had stopped the New Zealand innings at 46.1 overs, it was a strange feeling having to come back on a second day.
He added: “I woke up at three in the morning so I didn’t know how I was going to go out and bat. It was such a strange one, it was a Test match feeling almost, being not out overnight and being a bit restless.
“But we talked about 240 being what Kane (Williamson) and I thought was a very competitive total. I don’t think a lot of people believed us. It was a really slow wicket and if anything it got better to bat once it rained.
“The big boys up front were fantastic getting those three wickets and from there it was nice to be ahead of the game. Jadeja and Dhoni nearly took it away from us. There was some brilliance out there, the catch of Neesham, the run-out of Guptill without even the keeper there. Those highlights in a few years’ time will be something the team will never forget.”
Prior to the tournament, Taylor had spoken of trying to emulate Chris Gayle and appear in a fifth World Cup at the age of 39.
However he admitted after this one that the final at Lord’s may well be his final appearance on this stage.
He added: “I’ve said that Chris Gayle is my inspiration, he’s 39 and still playing but it’s probably a bit too far-fetched for me to still be playing.
“Never say never but probably more than likely (it will be my last World Cup game).
“Apart from the All Blacks, most New Zealand sides are underdogs, no matter what sport they play. It’s something we have embraced. It doesn’t sit well when we’re the favourites, we try to talk it down as much as possible.
“It’s a proud team, hopefully we’ve done our nation proud. Regardless of who we play, we’ll be up against it, but like this game, we’ll put our best foot forward and hopefully that’s enough.”
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