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July 12, 2019

We will put our best foot forward: Ross Taylor

Sports

July 12, 2019

BIRMINGHAM: New Zealand are in a place where very few expected them to reach especially after they were drawn against the Indian juggernaut in the last four stage of the ICC World Cup.

But the Black Caps punched beyond their weight, defending 238 and are now in London waiting for Sunday’s grand finale at Lord’s. Four years ago, too, New Zealand made the final in the World Cup held Down Under. But in 2015, they were unable to put their best foot forward and were brushed by rampaging Australia in the title showdown.

Ross Taylor, the senior batsman in the team, was there when New Zealand came within striking distance of winning their first ever World Cup title. He believes the Black Caps are much better prepared to cope with the pressure of playing a World Cup final this time.

“It was strange last time,” said Taylor, who is one of the six survivors of the 1025 final in Melbourne where New Zealand lost by seven wickets. “We played so well throughout the tournament but then jumped on a plane and played in a country we hadn’t played in for the whole tournament,” he said.

“I’d be lying if I said we weren’t a bit overawed by the change of scenery. I think we know what to expect, the pressures that come with it, we’ve been there before. “You just have to enjoy it, it’s the Home of Cricket, I can’t think of a better place to play a final.

“Whether it’s England or Australia, we have to enjoy the moment, put our best foot forward and hope for the best.” Taylor was one of the architects of New Zealand’s ascent to the final as his 74 played a key role in the team’s stunning 18-run triumph against India at Old Trafford on Wednesday in a semi-final that spanned over two days because of wet weather.

“I woke up at three in the morning so I didn’t know how I was going to go out and bat. It was such a strange one, it was a Test match feeling almost, being not out overnight and being a bit restless,” said Taylor, who Taylor was unbeaten on 67 overnight after rain had stopped the New Zealand innings at 46.1 overs.

“But we talked about 240 being what Kane (Williamson) and I thought was a very competitive total. I don’t think a lot of people believed us. It was a really slow wicket and if anything it got better to bat once it rained.

“The big boys up front were fantastic getting those three wickets and from there it was nice to be ahead of the game. Jadeja and Dhoni nearly took it away from us. There was some brilliance out there, the catch of Neesham, the run-out of Guptill without even the keeper there. Those highlights in a few years’ time will be something the team will never forget.”

Taylor had never hidden his ambition of playing another World Cup (2023) but admitted that is highly unlikely for him to realize it at age 39. “I’ve said that Chris Gayle is my inspiration, he’s 39 and still playing but it’s probably a bit too far-fetched for me to still be playing.

“Never say never but probably more than likely (it will be my last World Cup game). “Apart from the All Blacks, most New Zealand sides are underdogs, no matter what sport they play. It’s something we have embraced. It doesn’t sit well when we’re the favourites, we try to talk it down as much as possible.

“It’s a proud team, hopefully we’ve done our nation proud. Regardless of who we play, we’ll be up against it, but like this game, we’ll put our best foot forward and hopefully that’s enough,” said the star New Zealander.

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