While everyone called for England to share the World Cup with New Zealand after the final ended in a tie last year, former captain Brendon McCullum said that the Kiwis were a bit lucky to reach the final. He, however, pinned his hopes on the current crop of players to emulate their previous successes.
“I know they got very close last year in the World Cup – but I feel they were a little bit lucky there as well to actually get themselves in that situation,” Brendon McCullum said in a recent podcast.
England were awarded their first World Cup on a boundary count-back rule after the game remained deadlocked even after the super over. Speaking about lucky escapes, one is reminded about the New Zealand versus West Indies match. Needing six runs in as many balls, Carlos Brathwaite wanted to finish things off in style and, in turn, holed out at long on.
Then, there was the semi-final against India where rain forced the match into the reserve day. The conditions were heavily tilted in favour of the bowlers on the second day and, India lost their first four wickets for just 24 runs, which eventually cost them the game.
They’re really close to doing something special: Brendon McCullum
Brendon McCullum, however, believes that the Kane Williamson-led side is on the verge of accomplishing something special. Interestingly, Brendon McCullum, as captain, also lost the 2015 World Cup final against Australia.
“I think they’re really close to doing something really, really special, and under Kane Williamson’s captaincy and under the leadership of some of the other senior guys, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t... I think now is the time for them to make a real line in the sand, though. I think they’ve done well, but they’ve got the ear and eyes of not only New Zealand but the world, it’d be nice,” Brendon McCullum said.
The 38-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, who is the current head coach of KKR, feels that the players have now started to believe in themselves and Williamson can rally everyone to overcome the shortcomings of the past.
“I think they’re really well-led by Kane Williamson, someone who is a fantastic embodiment of what it’s like to be a Kiwi and he’s got a wonderful group of people around him... For so long were always just trying to peak occasionally because we didn’t feel we had the resources to compete with the bigger nations,” Brendon McCullum added.
New Zealand have made it to five semi-finals in the previous six 50-over World Cups. There are three ICC tournaments lined up in the next three years and they can indeed make Brendon McCullum’s wish come true.