They say catches win matches and they’re right. But I’d wager fast bowling wins more. I’m not talking about your bog standard 85mph kind of fast bowling; I’m referring to 95mph, get the pulse racing and hold on to the seat of your pants type stuff. This is why, in my humble opinion, Australia will blow New Zealand away in the World Cup final.
I really hope I’m wrong folks, but I just can’t see the Kiwis pulling off an upset. The Black Caps have plenty of talent and spirit, but I don’t think they’ll be able to slow the likes of Johnson and Starc down. These guys take wickets for fun – they’ve been at it throughout the World Cup – and with 100,000 fans at the MCG baying for blood, it will take something extremely special for New Zealand to thrive. The sense of anticipation in Melbourne will be almost tangible, and I think Australia will be unstoppable in what will be a cauldron of nationalistic fervour.
Although it would be unwise to write New Zealand off – and anything can happen on the day – I just feel the Aussies have more firepower. I also think they have the mental edge. This will be the Kiwis’ first game away from home in the World Cup, and going from the relative tranquillity of New Zealand to a hostile MCG will be one hell of a culture shock.
I’ll leave you with one gruesome statistic: Australia have won the World Cup four times whereas New Zealand have never even reached the final before. The Aussies know what it takes to win the big prizes. Anything other than World Cup glory will be seen as a failure.
It’s completely different for New Zealand. Whatever happens tomorrow, their tournament will be seen as a great success. Their players are already heroes. Their victory over South Africa in the semis was a seminal moment in New Zealand cricket history – it was their cup final – and I think it will be too difficult to repeat the heroics, and play to their full potential, after the emotional outpouring that followed that exhausting win.
I know it’s not what you want to hear, but I can see only one winner tomorrow. I doubt the game will even be close. Sorry folks.