Aussies and Kiwis go back to the scene of the crime

Tough guy: Brendon McCullum. Photo: Getty

Tough guy: Brendon McCullum. Photo: Getty

It’s Australia v New Zealand in the World Cup final, and already people have been talking about the underarm ball – which was in 1981 mind you.

Every cricket-playing nation has got a skeleton in the closet. I reckon that’s one of Australia’s major skeletons.

I was in the 13-man squad that day and I still don’t like talking about it.

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I would think that if New Zealand get up, surely they’ve got to open the cupboard and let that skeleton out. Let him go off and do whatever it is he’s got to do.

It’s at the MCG on Sunday, back to the scene of that crime.

What a great World Cup final we can expect: the two host nations, and I think they’ve been the two best teams in the competition.

Glenn Maxwell fires up. Photo: Getty

Glenn Maxwell fires up. Photo: Getty

New Zealand have the tournament’s best fast bowler in Trent Boult, and in tandem with Tim Southee they’ve been a great opening combination.

Australia’s duo of the two Mitchells – Starc and Johnson – has been very good as well.

There’s plenty of big-hitting between the two sides. Brendon McCullum’s hit 17 sixes for New Zealand while his mate Martin Guptill’s got 15.

Glenn Maxwell’s cracked 14 for Australia.

All the pieces are in place for a ripping contest.

New Zealand have answered every question that’s been asked of them. They won’t be overawed.

McCullum’s batting has been has been excellent, and so has his captaincy.

Daniel Vettori’s been wonderful for New Zealand as well, he’s represented the spinners’ cartel with aplomb.

But I just feel that at the MCG, it’s got to be a 30-40 run home-ground advantage to Australia.

New Zealand have been playing on smaller grounds over there, and at the ‘G you can’t hit every ball for six. You need a bit more guile.

I think we saw Mitchell Johnson go up a notch against India. All the praise has been heaped on Mitchell Starc, but Johnson is one of the superstars of Australian cricket.

He came out on Thursday night and went bang with the bat, and bang with the ball, dismissing the very dangerous Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

I think the sleeping giant was awoken.

But I think the heat’s on David Warner. Australia’s two opening batsmen have been down. Aaron Finch came out the other night and got some runs, and I think Warner needs to follow suit on Sunday.

Tough guy: Brendon McCullum. Photo: Getty

Tough guy: Brendon McCullum. Photo: Getty

He’s got to be ready for a big one.

New Zealand will like being the underdogs.

The interesting thing with a World Cup crowd is that there will be plenty of neutrals.

I would have thought the whole world, other than Australia, will be going for New Zealand, the underdogs.

The Kiwis will believe in themselves. They’ve won 17 out of their past 21 one-day internationals, and their last 10 on the trot.

It’ll be interesting to see how Australia approach McCullum. He’s a scary cat. Our tactics against him will be fascinating.

Johnson struck him a fearsome blow on the arm the last time they played, but I don’t think he’ll have any lingering doubts. He’s too strong and his mind is set on winning the World Cup.

They’ve been a breath of fresh air.

But in the end I think the home-ground advantage will be the difference.

I think Australia will win by 30 runs, and I think David Warner’s ready to cut loose so he’s my tip for man of the match.

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