The Black Caps will look to learn from the 2015 Cricket World Cup final although coach Gary Stead was determined to reiterate that Sunday’s decider against England is just another game of cricket.
Though it may be easier said than done, Stead repeated to the media at this morning’s media session at Lord’s that his team were determined to take a low-key approach to the final despite the fact both countries had a chance to win their first World Cups.
“When you strip it all back it’s just another game of cricket and that’s how we’re trying to treat it as well,” Stead said.
“Tomorrow we’ll have a bit of discussion about what are things we learnt from that (the 2015 final which NZ lost to Australia), there are many similarities, we’re playing the home country of the nation that’s hosting it, there’s a lot of expectation that comes with that as well.”
“We’ve got seven guys who were part of that squad, we’ll certainly lean on their experiences but again, I just want to stress, at the end of the day, it’s just a game of cricket.”
The rookie Black Caps coach wouldn’t be drawn into discussions around favourites and underdogs but felt that putting the result aside.
“From our point of view when we start the game we’re a 50/50 chance of winning the game and we just have to be a little bit better than England are on Sunday,” he said.
“The exciting thing is neither team has won a World Cup.”
Stead was full of praise for his team’s fight and steeliness, as well as their ability to put the result aside.
“I don’t think we overly focus on the end result, I don’t think we get too wrapped up in having to win or having to lose,” he said.
“There is a real fight and steeliness I think in the way we’ve played, we’re really aware that we don’t have to play the perfect game but what we do have to be able to do is adapt to the conditions in front of us, sometimes working out that 240 is a good score is a strength of the guys and our middle order.”
“A lot of talk before this World Cup about 350 sort of scores, we haven’t been in any of them and I think that’s one thing we’ve actually adapted to really well.”
“When you strip it all back it’s just another game of cricket and that’s how we’re trying to treat it as well.”
Opener Henry Nicholls batted for over two hours in the nets despite battling a hamstring complaint.
“Henry Nicholls batted for nearly two hours in the nets today, had a long, long bat and everything came through strongly which was good,” Stead said.
“He’ll have a pretty thorough fitness test tomorrow afternoon and we’ll make a call on his fitness.”
“If he’s ruled out, we’ve got other guys in the squad that will step up and will want to be a part of this occasion as well.”