New Zealand head coach Gary Stead has stated that he hasn’t heard anything from the players about the defeat to England in World Cup 2019 final, ahead of the two team's semifinal clash at the T20 World Cup 2021. Stead was proud of his team's willingness to fight and adapting on the biggest stage.
After defeat to Pakistan in their first Super 12s game, New Zealand have romped into the T20 World Cup 2021 semifinals with four consecutive wins, including a dominant eight-wicket victory over India. New Zealand have had a fine run in ICC tournaments in recent years, having finished runners-up in the 2019 ODI World Cup, before triumphing at the inaugural World Test Championship earlier this year.
They will be up against Eoin Morgan's England in the first semifinal of the ongoing competition in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. It's the same team they'd come second to in a heartbreaking 2019 World Cup final finish at Lord's, where they'd fallen short on boundary count after scores were tied in actual play as well as in the Super Over.
Gary Stead, the Blackcaps head coach, believes that players are not thinking about 2019 WC final, and those memories will not affect their mindset while taking on England.
"I haven't heard anything spoken about it [2019 World Cup final here] here," Stead said. "I think the guys are looking forward to the prospect of facing England again. As I said, they're a quality side and yes, we just look forward to the challenge of playing the best side as well. So, I'm not sure there will be anything from the 2019 game that will come into it...maybe a Super Over it might.”
England have suffered a major blow, as Jason Roy has been ruled out of the competition, after having sustained a calf injury during their last Super 12s fixture against South Africa in Sharjah last week. James Vince has been named as his replacement. Tymal Mills too, has been ruled out with thigh strain.
Stead expects Jonny Bairstow, Roy's opening partner in ODIs, to partner Jos Buttler at the top for England. However, he didn't rule out the possibility of his opponents making more tweaks keeping the match-ups in mind.
"He's obviously a quality player and first and foremost you don't want to see anyone go down injured like that," he said. "I mean we had the same with Lockie [Ferguson] and we know that we felt that as a big loss; I'm sure England are as well. I expect someone like Bairstow to probably go up to the top of the order and they've got a number of players that can do that.
"But they've also toyed with the idea of floating different players at different times, so maybe they've got match-ups they can do against us. But I don't think that will change the way that we approach the game. We're looking forward to playing England again and being I guess a one-off game, where anything can happen."
With New Zealand's yet another impressive campaign entering its decisive phase, Stead was extremely proud of his team's overall effort, and lauded their willingness to fight and adaptibility on the biggest stage.
"Personally, I'm very, very proud of the team - the way they keep finding ways to fight and to adapt on the biggest stage," he said. "I'm not sure when you line each player up - man for man - a lot of people that perhaps give us the credit that some of these guys deserve. It's a pretty experienced group of guys now who know each other's games very, very well and know the skills of each other. As a collective group, we do fight and fight hard. That's all I keep asking for. The results, at the end of the day, will look after themselves if we do those little things well.”