New Zealanders will forgo sleep to cheer on Black Caps back home, says Stead
Sunday’s clash will be broadcast free to air in New Zealand as well as in England.
New Zealand coach Gary Stead expects most of the country to pull an all-nighter on Sunday in support of his side’s World Cup final against England.
Neither team have won the tournament before, guaranteeing a history-making day at Lord’s regardless of the result.
In England, a broadcast agreement between rights holders Sky and Channel 4 has opened the game up to a terrestrial platform and hopes are high that a huge audience will tune in to cheer on Eoin Morgan’s men.
Stead expects a similar level of support on other side of the world, even through the game is due to start at 9.30pm local time.
“My understanding is it’s on free to air back home also, which is awesome,” he said.
“Many people will stay up late and I know a lot of them will be spending some late hours watching.
“I think Monday might be a public holiday back home because most of New Zealand will be staying up watching the game. We’ve had a lot of supportive messages and we’re really excited about what’s ahead.”
While England have not reached the final since 1992, New Zealand need only look back four years for their last taste of the showpiece.
Back then they were thrashed by neighbours Australia in an ill-tempered outing at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with most of the bile coming from the winning side.
England and New Zealand tend to enjoy more cordial relations, but Stead expects plenty of competitive edge, at least until the last ball is bowled.
“I don’t expect it to be friendly out there. Any time you go out and face bowlers bowling 140kph plus it is not that friendly,” he said.
“I expect both teams to play the game really hard in the middle and maybe have a beer afterwards. I think both teams play the game in the right way.”
The match at Lord’s represents a homecoming of sorts for Stead, who spent time on the MCC groundstaff as a teenager. His duties in those days were slightly less grand than his current position but he still reflects fondly on his stint at the home of cricket.
“In 1990 I was lucky enough to be on the groundstaff here at Lord’s and you had different duties when you turned up: one of them was cleaning the windows, as well as selling scorecards, taking the mail around and scorebox duty too which was pretty cool,” he said.
“It was a great experience and any time coming back here is pretty special but the extra emphasis on what this is about makes it even more special.
“The exciting thing is neither team have won a World Cup, both have had some finals experience but you’re going to have a different winner than last time.”