ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: New Zealand Rugby mentor Steve Hansen says England may wilt under pressure against Blackcaps in final

Celebrated All Blacks mentor Steve Hansen said that England's victory over New Zealand in the group stages would be a psychological disadvantage for them

Agence France-Presse, Jul 13, 2019 17:13:50 IST

Wellington: Celebrated All Blacks mentor Steve Hansen believes New Zealand's loss to England in the group stages of the Cricket World Cup will be to their advantage in Sunday's final.

The coaching maestro, who is bidding for a third Rugby World Cup success with the All Blacks this year, said when teams play each other twice in a tournament it is a psychological disadvantage to win the first match.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: New Zealand Rugby mentor Steve Hansen says England may wilt under pressure against Blackcaps in final

File image Steve Hansen. AFP

"The advantage is held by the team that loses because I think mentally it's very hard not to subconsciously think, 'well, we've beaten these guys before', so you soften yourself a little bit, subconsciously, it's not a deliberate thing," he told Radio Sport on Saturday.

England beat New Zealand by 119 runs to make the semi-finals and then downed Australia by eight wickets to make the final. New Zealand, who only scraped into the semis on a superior run rate than Pakistan, then beat tournament favourites India by 18 runs to reach the final

"England played Australia (in the group stages) and Australia thumped them. So, you start getting a little bit ahead of yourself and start thinking about stuff you shouldn't," Hansen said. In the 2015 World Cup, New Zealand beat Australia in the pool stages then lost to their trans-Tasman neighbours in the final.

Hansen, an assistant coach when the All Blacks struggled to an 8-7 win over France in the 2011 World Cup final in Auckland, added that hometown pressure was also a factor which could count against England in cricket's showpiece at the famous Lord's ground.

"If you're not used to that kind of pressure it can overwhelm you. So probably, an advantage to New Zealand, because no one is expecting them to win in England ... it takes all the pressure off you. Are they capable of winning it? I think they are," said Hansen.

Hansen was also an assistant coach of the All Blacks when they started as red-hot favourites in the 2007 World Cup only to be bundled out in the quarter-finals. He said the lesson from that shock loss was the same as it was for India captain Virat Kohli when the Black Caps beat them in the cricket semi-final.

"He made a pertinent point that 'we've played outstanding cricket in this tournament, apart from 45 minutes, and that's the reason why we're not going'," to the final. "If you're in a knock-out tournament, as (the All Blacks) found out in 2007, if you don't get it right in the 80 minutes, for us, and the 45 minutes, for the Indians, then you go home."

His advice for both sides facing the pressure of a final was not to focus on what will happen if they lose but to think about what will happen if they win. "Immediately, if you say that to yourself, there's a different feeling. Your eyes light up, there's a smile on your face."

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Updated Date: Jul 13, 2019 17:13:50 IST

World Cup 2019 Points Table

Team p w l nr pts
India 9 7 1 1 15
Australia 9 7 2 0 14
England 9 6 3 0 12
New Zealand 9 5 3 1 11
Pakistan 9 5 3 1 11
Sri Lanka 9 3 4 2 8
South Africa 9 3 5 1 7
Bangladesh 9 3 5 1 7
West Indies 9 2 6 1 5
Afghanistan 9 0 9 0 0

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
6 Sri Lanka 3462 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
6 Pakistan 4756 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
6 New Zealand 4056 254