Ross Taylor believes New Zealand are better placed to capitalise on being in a World Cup final than they were four years ago.
New Zealand won eight matches in a row on home soil in reaching the tournament showpiece for the first time in 2015, only to come unstuck when they travelled to Australia, where they were comprehensively beaten by their Antipodean rivals.
The seven-wicket defeat is still seared into the mind of Taylor, who pointed out the Kiwis’ flight across the Tasman Sea from Auckland to Melbourne was ill-suited to their preparation.
And the veteran batsman, who is set to earn his 228th one-day international cap when the Kiwis take on Eoin Morgan’s England at Lord’s on Sunday, insists a more tranquil travel schedule will benefit the Black Caps.
He said: “It’s a proud moment for the team and it’s nice for us to make the final two times in a row.
“It’s also nice for us to jump on a bus instead of having to jump on a plane and fly from Auckland to Melbourne like we did last time.
“It was strange in 2015. We played so well throughout the whole 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 didn’t think we were a little bit overawed by the change of scenery.
“But we know what to expect, we know the pressures that come with it, we’ve been there before. At the end of the day, you’ve just got to enjoy it, the home of cricket, you can’t think of a better place to play a final.”
New Zealand scraped into the semi-finals of this edition, finishing fourth in the table ahead of Pakistan by virtue of net run-rate alone after the teams could not be separated on points.
They defied a three-game losing streak to shock India earlier this week and though England are favourites to win the tournament for the first time, New Zealand’s unheralded status suits Taylor fine.
“Apart from the All Blacks, most New Zealand sides are the underdogs, regardless of what sport they play,” added Taylor, who top-scored with 74 off 90 balls in the 18-run win over India at Old Trafford.
“It’s something we have embraced. It doesn’t sit well when we are the favourites. We try and talk it down as much as possible. We are a proud team and hopefully we have done our nation proud.”
The 35-year-old is almost certainly set for his final World Cup innings but he did not entirely rule out the prospect of turning out in India in 2023, despite admitting it is an improbable aim.
He said with a smile: “Chris Gayle is my inspiration and he is 39 and still playing. It’s probably a little too far-fetched for me to still be playing (but) never say never.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
England’s one-day renaissance in the last four years owes a debt of gratitude to New Zealand so, in a way, it is fitting these sides will contest the World Cup final at Lord’s this Sunday.
Following their embarrassing group stage elimination in 2015, England captain Eoin Morgan decided to adopt the Blackcaps’ brand of fearless, attacking cricket, under Brendon McCullum, as his own.
Here PA looks at some of the pivotal meetings between the sides in recent years ahead of this weekend’s showpiece.
New Zealand v England – Wellington, February 2015
An eight-wicket victory for New Zealand in the embryonic group stages of the World Cup barely describes how emphatic this defeat was for England – one with far-reaching consequences.
Morgan’s side were thoroughly outclassed, Tim Southee taking a career-best seven for 33 as England were skittled for 123. The meagre total was overhauled in just 12.2 overs in a day-night fixture that ended before the floodlights were needed.
The experience remains a haunting one for Morgan, who recently described it as “close to rock-bottom as I’ve been”.
England v New Zealand – Edgbaston, June 2015
The revolution was televised. Three months on from their World Cup humiliation, Morgan, armed with a new philosophy and several talents from county cricket unburdened by past failures, continued as England leader into a series against a side they were hoping to emulate.
Even Morgan may have been taken aback by how quickly his blueprint was implemented, Joe Root and Jos Buttler amassing centuries as England surged to 408 for nine, at the time their highest one-day international total.
Steven Finn and Adil Rashid then each took four wickets, New Zealand rolled for 198 to lose by a jarring 210 runs.
England v New Zealand – Trent Bridge, June 2015
England were ripping up any preconceptions of them as a team in an enthralling series that spanned only 12 days but demonstrably set the tone for the following four years.
The Kiwis had brushed off their heavy Birmingham defeat to win at The Oval and the Ageas Bowl before posting a mammoth 349 for seven in Nottingham, future captain Kane Williamson top-scoring with 90.
England, though, bolstered by rapid hundreds from Root and Morgan, and a swashbuckling 67 from Alex Hales, knocked off the total with seven wickets and six overs to spare – their highest successful ODI chase. They would seal a thrilling series win at Chester-le-Street.
New Zealand v England – Dunedin, March 2018
By this stage, England’s transformation from also-rans to world beaters was complete. However, New Zealand, by now led by Williamson, were still worthy foes and they levelled another gripping series at 2-2, despite losing both openers inside three overs.
Centuries from Jonny Bairstow, who had recently ousted Hales as opener, and Root lifted England to 335 for nine but Williamson and Ross Taylor steadied proceedings after the early losses of Martin Guptill and Colin Munro.
Taylor then went to a career-best ODI score of 181 not out as New Zealand sealed a five-wicket win, achieved with three balls left. Another Bairstow century would give the tourists victory in the decider, England once again prevailing 3-2 in the bilateral series.
England v New Zealand – Chester-le-Street, July 2019
Back-to-back defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia had left England’s World Cup in disarray. The hosts overcame India but still needed to beat the Blackcaps to guarantee progression to the knockout stages.
The toss went in their favour before Bairstow registered his third successive ODI century against New Zealand. An increasingly sluggish pitch saw Morgan’s side just about get past 300, a total which was beyond New Zealand once Williamson was ran out backing up, Mark Wood getting his fingertips to a Taylor drive which clattered into the stumps at the non-striker’s end. England therefore advanced with a 119-run win
Jofra Archer will become a World Cup finalist less than three months after making his international debut, but England’s leading wicket-taker at the tournament does not expect nerves to be a problem.
Archer only joined his new team-mates for the first time in May, after changes to the governing body’s residency rules fast-tracked the Barbados-born seamer’s eligibility, but has made a stunning impact.
The 24-year-old has already set a new England record with 19 wickets at the tournament and excelled on his biggest stage to date, dismissing Australia captain Aaron Finch lbw with his first ball of Thursday’s semi-final at Edgbaston, before returning to see off the dangerous Glenn Maxwell.
A crushing eight-wicket victory set up a winner-takes-all date with New Zealand on Sunday and it will be no surprise if Archer is the coolest man at Lord’s.
“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. But the calmer you are the better you are in these situations,” said Archer.
“I just think I’ve always been like this. I try not to get nervous because then you end up doing stuff that you are not really supposed to do.
“Butterflies? Not really. Even when we were at breakfast before Australia…I may be wrong but I don’t think anyone looked nervous. Everyone just looked focused by the time we got into the ground. It’s those little things that make you feel like the guys are really ready.”
Jofra Archer, who made his international debut just two months ago, finishes with figures of 2/32 from 10 overs in a World Cup semi-final against Australia 🔥— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) July 11, 2019
Nerves of steel 💪#CWC19 | #AUSvENG | #WeAreEngland pic.twitter.com/yXjU0uQzb4
Archer’s on-field demeanour typically matches his measured words off it, but even he admits that sending the Australia skipper back for a golden duck set the adrenaline racing.
“Emotions were definitely flying after that,” he said with a smile.
“It definitely pushed the team. Everyone was just a lot more focused and switched on. I’m just glad the team is going well.
“I could be doing terribly as long as the team is winning. That would be alright. I’m just happy to play games and win games.”
It seems increasingly likely that Archer will get another crack at Australia during the forthcoming Ashes series, with the only real question surrounding his fitness, not his ability.
There is a growing clamour to unleash him in the Test arena but he has been managing a side issue throughout the last few weeks and England may choose to delay his introduction.
“After Sunday, I’ll probably answer that but for now I’m just focusing on trying to win the final,” he said.
“I’ll keep soldiering on. I have been for a few games now and it’s not got any worse. I was probably going to rest any way but I don’t think Sussex are going to flog me right now.
“I think I may get a well-deserved rest.”
Very little has surprised Archer since he landed on the global stage, but he did express bemusement at the interest in mining his past social media posts.
His prolific use of Twitter as a cricket-mad youngster has given rise to the notion that there is ‘an Archer tweet for every occasion’, often referencing his current team-mates and opponents.
“I have seen this but I don’t know why this should be a big thing! It’s just social media, that’s all it’s there for,” he said.
“I used to do it when I was just watching cricket back home. I wasn’t even in England for half of that stuff.”
Asked if there would be a fitting message to mark England’s first World Cup win in a couple of days’ time, he grinned and added: “Definitely”.
Jason Roy will be reunited with umpire Kumar Dharmasena in Sunday’s final, after the Sri Lankan was appointed for the Lord’s showpiece.
The pair were involved in a tense moment during England’s semi-final thrashing of Australia after Dharmasena incorrectly gave Roy caught behind on 85.
Both batsman and official appeared to be unaware that Jonny Bairstow had already used England’s DRS review, with Roy making the signal and Dharmasena sending the decision upstairs – a process that was only quashed after a reminder from Australia’s fielders.
Denied the chance to make the highest-profile century of his career, Roy remonstrated long and loud before trudging off the field in a state of barely concealed fury, with stump microphones picking up an apparent obscenity.
The 28-year-old was fined 30 per cent of his match fee and handed two demerit points on his disciplinary record as a result, sanctions he accepted at a post-match hearing.
Dharmasena will stand alongside South African Marais Erasmus. Rod Tucker will be the only Australian to see action in the finale, taking up the third umpire’s chair, with Pakistan’s Aleem Dar (fourth official) and Sri Lankan Ranjan Madugalle (match referee) also chosen.