Ross Taylor has warned England that New Zealand will use their underdog status as motivation to pull off a shock in tomorrow’s World Cup final.
England are huge favourites to win the tournament for the first time after they booked their place in the Lord’s showpiece with an eight-wicket demolition of holders Australia at Edgbaston on Thursday. Eoin Morgan’s team also thrashed the Black Caps by 119 runs in their final group match at Chester-Le-Street this month.
However, Taylor insists New Zealand’s perennial tag as dark horses can work in their favour this weekend – just as it did when beating India in their own semi-final at Old Trafford this week.
“We will be the underdogs but that is something we enjoy – to just scrap, put up a bit of a fight,” he said. “We still haven’t played the perfect game in this tournament. But if we can keep those traits that we know we have we will give England a run for their money.
“Apart from the All Blacks [rugby union team], most New Zealand sides are the underdogs, regardless of what sport they play. 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.
“If you talk to a lot of people back home, they probably didn’t think we would be able to make it. But we are there for a reason. We are a proud team and hopefully we have done our nation proud. We know we will be up against it. But just like the India game, we will put our best foot forward and hopefully that is good enough.”
Taylor, 35, also believes the experience of reaching the final in 2015 could prove telling. New Zealand were co-hosts with Australia four years ago and after playing all their previous matches at home they travelled to Melbourne to play their neighbours in the final, which they lost by seven wickets.
“It was strange,” Taylor said. “We played so well throughout 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 comes with the occasion, we’ve been there before.”
New Zealand are optimistic Henry Nicholls will recover from a hamstring injury for the final after the opener batted for two hours in the Lord’s nets yesterday.