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ICC World Cup: We're not too worried about the size of MCG, says Tim Southee

Pacer Tim Southee believes NZ have the experience and firepower to stun Australia and lift maiden World Cup trophy at the huge Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday

Melbourne: New Zealand seamer Tim Southee believes the Black Caps have the experience and the firepower to topple Australia in Sunday’s World Cup final in Melbourne.

A general view of the 2015 World Cup quarter-final match between India and Bangladesh at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 19. PIC/GETTY IMAGES
A general view of the 2015 World Cup quarter-final match between India and Bangladesh at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 19. Pic/Getty Images

Southee said the Black Caps were relishing the opportunity of playing in their maiden World Cup final — a match that will also mark New Zealand’s first appearance at the vast Melbourne Cricket Ground in six years.

Tim Southee bowls in the nets at MCG yesterday. PIC/Getty Images
Tim Southee bowls in the nets at MCG yesterday. Pic/Getty Images

New Zealand are the form side of the tournament having won all eight of their matches at this World Cup.

Australia captain Michael Clarke reckons his side’s knowledge of playing at the MCG will be a major factor in the final as the home team chase a fifth World Cup title following their emphatic 95-run semi-final victory over defending champions India in Sydney on Thursday. But that doesn’t wash with Southee, who has claimed 15 wickets at 27.13 in the tournament and formed a potent new-ball combination with left-armer Trent Boult, the tournament’s leading bowler with 21 wickets at 15.76.

Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden suggested the sheer side of the MCG for a New Zealand team who’d played all their previous matches at this World Cup on their own, much smaller grounds — sparking a tide of derisive comments on social media from Black Caps fans.

But Southee told reporters at the MCG on yesterday: “We are not too worried about the size of the ground. It’s a dream come true for all the guys. This is as good as it gets, taking on Australia in Australia on one of the best cricket grounds in the world.”

Banking on Vettori
Veteran left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori has more experience of the MCG than his New Zealand teammates, having played there seven times since 1997, while skipper Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor have played there twice with Martin Guptill, Grant Elliott, Southee and Kyle Mills all having had one MCG appearance each.

All seven played in New Zealand’s last visit to the ground, when they beat Australia by six wickets in 2009. “We haven’t played here for a long time. We have good memories from that (2009) game as well,” Southee said.

“A lot of the guys have played in front of pretty big crowds in India. There will be close to 100,000 people screaming (on Sunday). It will be interesting to see what it’s like here,” he added. — AFP

About MCG...
>> Opened in 1854
>> It is the largest cricket stadium in the world and 13th overall in sports
>> Boundary size: 165 metres long x 130m wide
>> Seating capacity: 95,000
>> Record attendance: 121,696 in 1970 during VFL Grand final between Carlton FC and Collingwood FC

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