Ross Taylor believes New Zealand are better placed to capitalise on being in a World Cup final than they were four years ago.
New Zealand won eight matches in a row on home soil in reaching the tournament showpiece for the first time in 2015, only to come unstuck when they travelled to Australia, where they were comprehensively beaten by their Antipodean rivals.
The seven-wicket defeat is still seared into the mind of Taylor, who pointed out the Kiwis’ flight across the Tasman Sea from Auckland to Melbourne was ill-suited to their preparation.
And the veteran batsman, who is set to earn his 228th one-day international cap when the Kiwis take on Eoin Morgan’s England at Lord’s on Sunday, insists a more tranquil travel schedule will benefit the Black Caps.
He said: “It’s a proud moment for the team and it’s nice for us to make the final two times in a row.
“It’s also nice for us to jump on a bus instead of having to jump on a plane and fly from Auckland to Melbourne like we did last time.
“It was strange in 2015. We played so well throughout the whole tournament, but then jumped on a plane and played in a country we hadn’t played in for the whole tournament.
Apart from the All Blacks, most New Zealand sides are the underdogs, regardless of what sport they playRoss Taylor
“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 come with it, we’ve been there before. At the end of the day, you’ve just got to enjoy it, the home of cricket, you can’t think of a better place to play a final.”
New Zealand scraped into the semi-finals of this edition, finishing fourth in the table ahead of Pakistan by virtue of net run-rate alone after the teams could not be separated on points.
They defied a three-game losing streak to shock India earlier this week and though England are favourites to win the tournament for the first time, New Zealand’s unheralded status suits Taylor fine.
“Apart from the All Blacks, most New Zealand sides are the underdogs, regardless of what sport they play,” added Taylor, who top-scored with 74 off 90 balls in the 18-run win over India at Old Trafford.
“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. We are a proud team and hopefully we have done our nation proud.”
The 35-year-old is almost certainly set for his final World Cup innings but he did not entirely rule out the prospect of turning out in India in 2023, despite admitting it is an improbable aim.
He said with a smile: “Chris Gayle is my inspiration and he is 39 and still playing. It’s probably a little too far-fetched for me to still be playing (but) never say never.”