McCullum vows to give all in final


Published: Saturday 28th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Brendon McCullum will not be scared to take his usual aggressive approach as he leads New Zealand into the World Cup final against Australia.

McCullum has refused to take a backward step in the tournament either as a batsman – with a strike rate of almost two runs per ball – or as captain, regularly setting four-slip fields for his in-form pace attack.

Australia present the toughest possible test but their neighbours will not be cowed.

“We need to play like that, that’s how we’re going to beat teams on regular occasions,” McCullum said at his press conference ahead of the final.

“We’re not afraid of losing. For us we think about what we can achieve.

“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 teams.”

New Zealand’s progress has been far from a McCullum solo act, with Martin Guptill hitting a World Cup record 237 not out in the quarter-final against West Indies, Tim Southee taking seven for 33 against England and Trent Boult five for 27 in the Pool A win over Australia.

Daniel Vettori has rolled back the years with 15 wickets while Corey Anderson has taken 14 in addition to some big hitting with the bat as the team have earned the adulation normally reserved for rugby union’s All Blacks.

“It’s a pretty amazing ride,” McCullum said.

“We know when the World Cup is over we’ll sort of return a little bit to where things were, but at the moment we’ll just try to embrace the fan following and what we’ve been able to achieve for New Zealand.

“I think it’s captivated the country back home. For us to be talked about and followed in the same breath as some of the great All Blacks teams, it’s immensely satisfying, but we know we’ve got to continue to build on that.

“We’re thankful for what we’ve been able to achieve but it would be nice to win and go for another game.”

That Kiwi support will be rivalled by a packed house at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with the emotion ramped up for Australia fans by captain Michael Clarke’s announcement that the game will be his last one-day international.

The 33-year-old will retire from limited-overs action after the final to allow his team to prepare for the next World Cup and also prolong his own Test career – and he is determined to go out on a high.

Clarke said: “It’s a special game, there’s no doubt about it, but it needs to be about the team – and I want it to be about the team.

“It’s not emotion, it’s skill that helps you win major games and major tournaments, and tomorrow will be no different. It’s no more special because it’s my last game.

“New Zealand have been the form team of the competition. New Zealand have beaten us once in this tournament. But I’m confident if we play our best, we can beat them tomorrow.”

McCullum has confirmed New Zealand will name an unchanged team from their semi-final win over South Africa, with Australia expected to do likewise after beating India.

English umpire Richard Kettleborough will be on duty at the MCG alongside Sri Lanka’s Kumar Dharmasena, who will become the first man to both play and officiate in a World Cup final.

Published: Saturday 28th March 2015 by The News Editor

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