Steve Waugh believes that in both semifinals, the losing sides, India and Australia, simply have to admit that their opposition was too good on the day. India were beaten by New Zealand, and Australia by England, despite the two teams being the most popular choice to end up in the finals.
The former Australian captain has seen it all during his 20-year career. So, it didn’t really surprise him when the two more popular choices to appear in the finals, India and Australia, faltered at the semi final stage. In fact, Australia were swatted aside by their arch rivals, England, by a whopping eight wicket margin.
“It’s called cricket, mate. Someone’s going to win, someone’s going to lose. England were too good. Someone’s got to put up their hand and say: ‘Opposition too good.’ The first semifinal was a surprise and in the second, the margin of victory was also surprising. But, that’s cricket. You never know what’s going to happen,” Waugh told reporters at the inaugural Criiio Cup at the Trafalgar Square on Friday, reported TOI.
Even with regard to India’s loss against the Kiwis, Waugh believes it was a game won or lost by some crucial moments in the field. Waugh firmly opposed the idea that India made tactical blunders with their batting order, and put his weight behind the under-fire MS Dhoni.
“Look the guy has been a genius in One-Day cricket. Again, the other day, until the run-out, he may have won the game. The amount of time he has got India across the line has been amazing. I’ll still trust him with what he is doing. Did Virat make any tactical errors — no. New Zealand played really well. If you saw (Jimmy) Neesham’s brilliant catch and Guptill’s run out — World Cup matches are sometimes won on fielding expertise. Credit should be given to (Kane) Williamson and (Ross) Taylor. They got a lot of criticism for batting too slowly but they summed up the conditions really well. To win a World Cup, you’ve got to be really street smart and that’s what they did,” Waugh noted.
Going into the final on Sunday, Waugh did not pick his favorites. He is glad that, in the end, the game of cricket will grow massively in the country that wins. Cricket is not the no.1 sport in England or New Zealand.
“It’s good. I think it’ll be really important if someone like New Zealand, which is a great rugby country..(they have) probably the greatest sporting team in the world in the All Blacks. Cricket is always (trying to) get a foothold. So, to make the final and potentially win, it will be game-changing for New Zealand. England, of course, have been to three World Cup finals. The country is very passionate about cricket. Look, if either side wins, it is going to be great for their country,” Waugh added.
The two-time World Cup winner is preparing himself for a mentorship role with Cricket Australia (CA). He will join the senior team in their preparation for The Ashes, starting from August 1.
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