Fleming hails captain McCullum

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Published: Wednesday 25th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming heaped praise on current incumbent Brendon McCullum for leading the Kiwis into their first ever World Cup final.

New Zealand advanced with a four-wicket win over South Africa in one of the greatest matches the tournament has ever seen on Tuesday.

The Black Caps had on six previous occasions reached the last four, including twice under Fleming, but never before gone on to reach the showpiece encounter.

Fleming, one of New Zealand’s most successful captains, knows the setbacks his country have endured in the global tournament and admitted his incredulity at their feat in his column on the International Cricket Council’s website.

He said: “There is a dream-like euphoria mixed with a pinch-me feeling of disbelief throughout the country, given the Black Caps’ success in winning their way through to Melbourne and Sunday’s final has finally smashed that World Cup glass ceiling by banishing all the years of semi-final heartaches.

“As a captain who suffered two of those heartaches, in 1999 and 2007, to see a New Zealand side playing with the freedom and quality that Brendon McCullum and his players are producing certainly warms the heart.”

New Zealand will go into Sunday’s final against either fellow co-hosts Australia or India at the MCG full of confidence having won all of their matches in the competition thus far.

Fleming, who played 111 Tests and 280 one-day internationals, knows their supporters will be outnumbered, whoever triumphs in the second semi-final, but hopes they can reproduce the form that has got them this far.

“It will be a tough one to negotiate,” he added. “Either way, New Zealand will know they will face a crowd in which their own supporters will be in the minority by quite some margin.

“I am not sure it matters who McCullum’s men end up playing because either opponent at this stage of the tournament will be top-notch.

“But the quality the Black Caps have produced has been exceptional time and time again in this tournament and I just hope they can do it once more on Sunday.

“And if they do then that is one dream I would happily never wake up from.”

Published: Wednesday 25th March 2015 by The News Editor

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