Kane Williamson will lead New Zealand out at the second successive World Cup final

Four years ago New Zealand were beaten by co-hosts Australia and this time face England at Lord’s

The captain and coach may have changed but the results have been largely the same for New Zealand in reaching a second successive ICC Men's Cricket World Cup final.

 Where four years has felt like an eternity for England, going from a humiliating exit before the quarter-finals to the brink of a first ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup title, New Zealand have progressed serenely, in the image of captain Kane Williamson.

He has taken over from Brendon McCullum, and much as he does when he bats in the middle, the Black Caps skipper gives very little away before a match.

One thing he did concede on the eve of the final, was that this Kiwi side is very different to the one that reached the final in Melbourne in 2015, even if five of the players in that game were also part of the team that beat India in the semi-final at Old Trafford.

Given the difference between the two sides, the understated skipper does not believe that experience will give New Zealand an edge in the final.

He said: “We were in a different part of the world on a different surface against a different opposition, and both sides are very different from four years ago, so it's kind of hard to compare those times.

“Whether having had experience in a final or not is a good thing, any final you get the opportunity to play in is a really positive thing.

“But at the same time, as we know in this game, it does come down to putting a performance on the board that gives us the best opportunity to win and both sides will be very much looking to do that and trying to treat the game as any other game.

“It's just very different to four years ago. We have a very different group, a slightly different vibe and ethos and how we operate.

“But at the same time there's a real commitment to that which is a really positive thing and it's held us in good stead to this point, so the focus for us is about the cricket that we want to play and we want to be proud of the performance that we put on the board.

“We've seen a lot of support come through (from New Zealand), which is awesome. I suppose the last World Cup was at home and a lot of the attention was there on your doorstep and we had crowds of Kiwis coming to every game.

“Over here we've got a few scattered in amongst the majority of opposition crowds, but that's great as well and I know we're getting a lot of support from a long way off.”

England beat the Black Caps by 119 runs in the first meeting of the sides in Durham, and enter the game as the world’s No.1 side.

Williamson is happy to label them as favourites on home soil, but insists the underdog Kiwis can still cause an upset.

 He added: “I think England rightly deserve to be favourites. Coming into this tournament from the start, they were favourites and they've been playing really good cricket.

“But whatever dog we are, it's just important that we focus on the cricket that we want to play and we have seen over the years that anybody can beat anybody regardless of breed of dog.

 “We are quite keen on winning as well. There's all different bits of pressure on any


 
 
 

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