T20 World Cup 2021 | We pride ourselves on never-say-die attitude, says Gary Stead

T20 World Cup 2021 | We pride ourselves on never-say-die attitude, says Gary Stead

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New Zealand will play Australia in T20 WC 2021 final on Sunday


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New Zealand head coach Gary Stead lauded his team's never-say-die attitude, ahead of their T20 World Cup 2021 final clash against Australia at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday. Stead believed that planning and scouting should be right on point for all opposition players to win the decider.

New Zealand defeated pre-tournament favourites England by five wickets in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, to enter the T20 World Cup 2021 final. The Blackcaps stood at 13/2 during their 167-run chase against England in the semifinal, before Darly Mitchell (72* off 47), Devon Conway ((46 off 38) and Jimmy Neesham (27 off 11) weaved their magic to see their side through by five wickets. They'll now take on Australia on Sunday, in what will be their third ICC tournament final in as many years.

As for head-coach Gary Stead, the team's never-say-die attitude has been the highlight of their recent success.

"I think the never-say-die attitude is that we pride ourselves on and take things, bigger teams right down to the wire and then it's who can hold their nerve the best as well in the most pressurised situation," Stead said. "The innings that Jimmy Neesham played put us in a position where we could genuinely win the game and then Daryl Mitchell had obviously fought throughout the innings and then him to finish it off...that was particularly pleasing as well.”

Stead was pleased with his players holding their nerves against a strong England outfit in a high-pressure game.

"I thought on the whole we actually bowled pretty well," he said. "I think there was an odd over that went for a bit of a tap, but that happens in T20 cricket and if you watch the second semi-final, the same thing happened between two quality sides. It's really just about holding your nerve and that's the thing that was particularly pleasing for me that we managed to do that against the pre-tournament favourites.”

Stead also hinted on the possibility of Tim Seifert replacing the injured Conway in the final.

"Look, I mean we need to have a keeper," Stead said. "So, it's likely that Tim will come into the side and then we will just balance out the attack and I guess the order of what we think is right. Dev [Devon Conway] has obviously been batting at [No.] 4. Whether we bring Glenn Phillips up one and put Seif in behind him - something that Kane and I have to work through the next day or so when we train and work those things out,” he revealed.

New Zealand have been a strong all-format team in recent times, and had won the inaugural World Test Championship earlier this year, after having finished runners-up at the 2019 ODI World Cup. Stead looked back at the success, and was positive of his team to replicate that on Sunday.

"I think it's really exciting for this team to be in this situation again," Stead said. "We've played some wonderful cricket in the last four-five years and I guess people measure that success at World Cups. So, for us, to be in another final is really, really satisfying and rewarding for the team. Australia have got a bunch of guys who are real match-winners as well and we've got to make sure our planning and scouting is right on point for all their players because they can rip a game open pretty quickly as well.”

Toss has been an important factor in the tournament so far, with teams prefering to chase taking the dew factor into consideration. Stead felt that the toss factor has eased out a little in recent matches and felt that runs on the board could also prove to be handy in the final.

"Yeah it [the toss factor] is interesting because the last three games at Abu Dhabi and tonight [Thursday night] in Dubai, there was no dew at all," Stead said. "Everyone keeps talking about the dew factor but that hasn't really been so much of a factor of perhaps what it was a couple of weeks ago. That may be a temperature thing - not so sure about that

"If you bat first and get a good score on the board, there's still a lot of pressure in the final situation as well. Again, we will work out what our strategy is and also understand that with the toss, there's a 50% chance of it going our way. Sometimes you win them and sometimes you don't. You've got to be prepared to do both."

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