WADOO!!SPORTNEWS: NZ ‘fearless’ ahead of final; Aus says skill, not emotion, wins World Cups
New Zealand are sticking with the same team, and the same fearless approach, for Sunday’s World Cup final against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said the Black Caps would use the same lineup that beat South Africa in the semifinals and the same bold tactics that have served them so well during the tournament.
Showing no signs of nerves or apprehension ahead of the biggest match in New Zealand cricket history, McCullum said his players had been told to go out and attack the Australians from the start.
“We need to play like that, that’s how we’re going to beat teams on regular occasions,” McCullum told a news conference. “We’re not afraid of losing.
“For us, we think about what we can achieve. That’s not always going to work and there are going to be times when we come out on the wrong side of it. But that gives us our greatest chance of success against big opposition teams on a regular basis.
“So we’ll continue to play like that and develop a sense of fearlessness … and a real ‘can do’ attitude.”
New Zealand’s intimidating approach to the game has paid off during the World Cup.
With the dashing McCullum laying the foundations at the top of the order, the Black Caps have been piling on the runs with the bat and skittling opposing lineups with their fast bowlers.
McCullum said his players had been told to go out and attack the Australians from the start. (AP Photo)
They have also shown they can handle pressure, beating Australia in a tight match during the group stage and South Africa in the semifinals.
Now, McCullum says, his team have to make sure they do not freeze in the final.
“I’m confident we’ll play well tomorrow,” he said. “That doesn’t guarantee us anything, it doesn’t mean that Australia won’t beat us, but I’m very confident we’ll turn up and display our skills just as we have done throughout the tournament.
“I guess this is the ultimate game for us to be able to play in, so with that I’m sure some guys will be nervous.
“Putting our skills against the best in their backyard certainly whets the appetite and creates the greatest stage we can ask for.”
McCullum conceded that four times champions Australia were the favourites on home soil but said his team mates were aware this was the chance of a lifetime.
“It’s pretty amazing, the ride we’ve been on, and I’ve said that time and time again that it’s been the greatest time of our lives,” he added.
“We dreamed right from the start and to now give ourselves a 50-50 chance in the final is an amazing achievement.
“The brand of cricket that we’ve played has really touched a lot of people and endeared ourselves to a lot of people who follow this game.
“There is no challenge which is insurmountable.”
Australia says skill, not emotion, wins World Cups
Australia’s retiring one-day captain Michael Clarke has urged his players to put “skill over emotion” in their bid to down New Zealand in Sunday’s World Cup final, though his swan-song is sure to imbue the match with extra sentiment.
Clarke announced his retirement from the one-day game on the eve of the Melbourne Cricket Ground blockbuster and will hope to wrap up his career in the 50-over format by leading Australia to a fifth world trophy.
Clarke’s captaincy has proved torrid in recent months, grieving the death of team mate Phillip Hughes and battling a succession of hamstring injuries.
His race to be fit for the World Cup overshadowed Australia’s preparations, and local media are certain to question the timing of his retirement announcement.
Clarke has urged his players to put “skill over emotion” against the Kiwis. (AFP Photo)
Clarke said nothing would change in his preparation for the 245th and final ODI of his career, though his every movement is certain to be under heightened scrutiny.
“It’s a special game, no doubt about it, but it needs to be about the team and I want it to be about the team,” he told reporters at the MCG on Saturday.
“I just said it to my team mates then. And I’ve been the one to come out and say, ‘it’s not emotion, it’s skill that helps you win major games and major tournaments, and tomorrow will be no different’.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for every single player in that change room to walk out onto the MCG in a World Cup final.
“It’s a very special event. But yeah, it’s no more special because it’s my last game.”
Brendon McCullum confirmed New Zealand would bring the same team that downed South Africa in a semifinal cliff-hanger in Auckland.
Australia are also expected to bring the same side that thrashed India in Sydney, though Clarke could not confirm it.
He threw his arm around his New Zealand counterpart McCullum in a private moment during a photo-shoot with the trophy.
Both captains have been open about their mutual admiration, and Clarke’s mantra about playing with “freedom” could have been straight from McCullum’s mouth.
“The fact that the whole team is here again today at an optional training session shows the dedication, shows where the team is at mentally,” Clarke said.
“I don’t think I have to say too much to be honest. I think the guys are ready to play. Like I said after the last game, mentally we are ready for this final.
“Physically we’ve got another day to recover or try and get what you need to be right for tomorrow, but I think the team is ready.”