‘I don’t know who is the underdog here’ — NZ coach Stead on World Cup final

On the eve of the final, Stead said that the Kiwis who were a part of the 2015 final would be able to tell what not to repeat this time.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson shares a light moment with coach Gary Stead at a practice session at Lord’s in London on Friday.   -  AP


A team need not always “play the perfect game” to win but can adapt to the conditions as New Zealand showed during the semifinal win against India, coach Gary Stead said ahead of their World Cup final against England on Sunday.

“We don’t have to play the perfect game. What we have to do is to be able to adapt to conditions in front of us. Working out that 240 (vs India) is a good score is the strength the guys have, especially the middle order. Guys like Kane, Ross, Tom Latham, they have a lot of experience,” Stead said during a media conference.

Stead said that there are no underdogs in a final even if it means playing England at the Lord’s.

“I don’t know who is the underdog here. That is for the media to say. We are going in with a 50-50 chance and we need to be a little bit better than England on Sunday,” he said.

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“There is pressure on both teams. The exciting thing is that both teams have not won the World Cup and both have experience of finals. But since England and India were looked at as winners, maybe there is more pressure on them,” Stead said.

On the eve of the final, Stead said that the Kiwis who were a part of the 2015 final would be able to tell what not to repeat this time.

“What have we learnt from that experience ... there are a lot of similarities between the two occasions. We have seven guys who had experience of being part of that squad playing then.

“But at the end of the day, it’s a game of cricket — there will be one team which will be happy and one team which will be disappointed. We are trying to keep it as realistic as we can,” the coach said.

Not many know that Stead was a ground staff at the Lord’s back in 1990 and he has fond memories of the iconic venue.

“1990, I was lucky enough to be part of the ground staff here. We had different duties when we turned up. Clean the windows, sell scorecards ... it is a great experience coming back here,” Stead said.

“We as a team have worked on three different goals during the tournament. We have achieved two of them, now we have to get the third,” he said.

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