This is by a long distance going to be the most important date for every cricket lover in New Zealand. The Blackcaps have made it to their first ever World Cup final. After losing six times in the semi finals, they have finally made it to the grand finals. Just imagine the misfortune and anguish experienced by every New Zealand fan every time they stood second in a semi final. But as they say, “better late than never”. And here we are, at the resplendent Melbourne Cricket Ground, which is set to host the final of the ICC World Cup 2015. The Kiwis are up against an incredibly ruthless Australian side, which has been formidable at home. The Aussies have made a mockery of the visiting teams and have bossed their way into the finals. The men in Black would be itching to finally bring the coveted trophy home for the first time. But for that, they would have to take care of a few crucial things.
Below, is the summary of the five crucial factors, which the Kiwis need to do, in order to win the World Cup.
1. Williamson must bat till the end:
Kane Williamson has been the smiling assassin of this World Cup. He has calmly but steadily accumulated the runs and batted sensibly. Both the Kiwi openers have been explosive, and its often Williamson, who steadies the side after the dismissal of the openers. In the final though, Williamson will be required to bat till the end. With Williamson at one end, the batsmen have a sense of calmness and serenity around them. Kane is like the guiding force for the team. Ross Taylor, has had a forgettable World Cup so far with the bat. With Taylor not in top form, it becomes crucial for Williamson to bat till the end. If Williamson indeed manages to bat for a long span in the final, then the Kiwis would have got to a respectable total for sure.
2. Attack James Faulkner:
Against India in the first semi final, Faulkner was plundered for 29 runs in his first couple of overs by Shikhar Dhawan. The Kiwi batters can take a leaf out of Dhawan’s book and surely be aggressive against Faulkner. Faulkner is not that kind of a bowler who will bounce you out or will intimidate you by giving the terrorizing scare. Rather, he will trudge back to his end once he has been attacked. The New Zealanders can attack him from the offset. Like Dhawan, the likes of McCullum and Guptill can move within the crease to upset Faulkner’s line. James also has to deliver ten overs for Clarke at any cost. Thus attacking him will upset the team’s plan big time.
3. Play the chin music:
The conditions surrounding the MCG will not be assisting swing bowling. Thus, the best weapon for Kiwi seamers will be in pitching the ball short in excess of 145 km/hr and playing the famous chin music. David Warner often has the tendency to pounce on the short stuff. But he is seldom successful in doing so. With the long third man boundary, the option of cutting is also a risky one for Warner. Boult can surely attack Warner by playing the chin music. The likes of Michael Clarke and Glenn Maxwell look like rookies while playing the short ball. Both the Australians have had their share of trouble while countering the short stuff. Shane Watson against Wahab Riaz looked completely flummoxed against anything short, and created a lot of chances. The Kiwi pace battery must pitch the ball short and attack, if they are to mesmerize the Aussie batsmen.
4. Get Warner early:
David Warner’s bat speaks a lot more than his mouth! When he flashes the thick woody blade, the ball often disappears into the crowd. The Kiwi bowlers must be wary of him big time. Warner has the ability to decimate bowling attacks with ridiculous ease. Against India as well, he was off and running, but an ill timed top edge ended his knock. Playing his biggest match till date, Warner would want to get on top of the Kiwi bowlers and intimidate with his brand of play. The Blackcaps should dismiss him early at any given cost. The ideal way to do that is beating him by pace, and pitching the ball short. If, the muscular lad gets going, then the Kiwis better worry and fear for the worst!
5. Be ahead of Australia in aggression:
In the grand final, two sides with immense aggression will clash. Both the Trans Tasman sides have found success in aggression. They are likely to continue the strategy in the final as well. The Kiwis have been hostile, thanks to their captain with his display of aggression in the field. McCullum has often employed as many as 4 slips and a gully in the initial overs. McCullum in a lot of ways has redesigned the form of aggression in limited overs. He has engineered and developed strategies to remain aggressive in every part of the game. With the bat, his swashbuckling starts have often done the job for New Zealand. McCullum sets the tone from the very first over itself. Not a single team so far has managed to escape unscathed from his line of fury. If not with the bat, then with his captaincy, he rules the game. In the final too, it will be vital for McCullum to remain ahead of Australia through aggression. Doing so, will put a lot of pressure on the Aussies, who might retort to unproductive measures.
It is safe to say that both the deserving sides have made it to the final. The clash of the aggressive lineups promises the viewers with a lot of entertainment. May the best side win, and take home the ultimate glory, the ICC World Cup.