Stephen Fleming made a point when he said that the Kiwis probably felt the Trans-Tasman rivalry more than Australia, their more accomplished neighbours.
“We’re always excited when we play Australia, and I think that’s more now because there is a feeling that we can compete against them better than we could five or ten years ago,” the New Zealand skipper said.
He said his players tried that little bit more against Australia. He felt it probably was the case when other teams played against Australia too, simply because the cricket the men from Oz played was the yardstick everyone else judged themselves by. “Bond gets up for it against Australia, all the others like to challenge themselves against the best,” he added.
The Kiwis have traditionally been looked at as dangerous opponents but some how, they have never quite maintained a consistent winning streak on the big stage that will move them into the league of superstar cricketing nations.
Fleming and his men are determined to do that.
“Big tournaments are important,” said Fleming, thought by many to have the most astute of cricketing brains. “We’ve reached a few quarterfinals and semifinals but we haven’t quite won the big one and people tend to see them as a measure of the success of a side. We haven’t been that good consistently and we’re still searching for that to climb up the ladder of respect. But the only way to do that is by winning against the big teams and we can do a bit by beating Australia on Wednesday.”
He said they would aim to keep the pressure on against the Aussies, find the chinks in their armour on the day and not try and let them find a gap from which they would hit back. “They deal with pressure by trying and turning it around by getting aggressive, you can meet it head on, or be a little smarter and see where it goes,” said Fleming.