Melbourne, March 28:
Former New Zealand legend Richard Hadlee on Friday said that the Black Caps winning on Sunday against Australia would be the country’s finest moment in sport.
Co-hosts New Zealand entered the final of the World for the first time with a victory over South Africa in the semi-finals on Tuesday.
They now face four-time world champion Australia in the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday.
Cricket is a secondary sport in the rugby-mad nation but the New Zealand public has been captivated by the aggression and success of skipper Brendon McCullum’s side, whom Hadlee rates as the best side the country has ever produced for a World Cup.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s Australia, England, India, they’re in it for the first time, they have an opportunity to create history in our game, which means they will never ever be forgotten,” Hadlee was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.
The 63-year-old said the Black Caps, who have reached their first final after six semi-final losses, had what could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to become sporting immortals.
“It’s like the rugby when they won it in ’87, they’ve won it twice, and we’re yet to do it. You look at the America’s Cup, great moment in our sporting history, win the cricket World Cup and it’ll be right up there with our greatest ever achievements,” he said.
Hadlee, a board member of New Zealand Cricket, said in 40 years of World Cup cricket they haven’t won the top prize and it’s high time to clinch it.
“We’ve had 40 years of World Cup cricket and to finally get across the line if we do is part of our cricketing history.”
“Being a board member and involved with NZ cricket for a long time, it’d be one of the great moments, very, very special and something I’d love to see in my time,” Hadlee concluded.