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Southee: Kiwis ready for one more big push in ICC Cricket World Cup final

Published:Saturday | March 28, 2015 | 12:00 AM

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP):

Fast bowler Tim Southee says that after reaching the Cricket World Cup final for the first time and with their most well-rounded limited-overs team ever assembled, New Zealand are ready for "one more big push" to beat Australia and to write a new chapter in their history.

Southee said New Zealand had allowed themselves a day to celebrate the dramatic semi-final win over South Africa, which carried them into Sunday's (tonight Jamaica time) final in Melbourne and had now "parked" the memory of that match.

Playing in a World Cup final, particularly against Australia in Australia, was his "dream come true".

"As a kid growing up you either wanted to be an All Black or a Black Cap and this is as good as it gets," he said. "I'm sure the guys are very excited to fulfill a childhood dream."

Time of our lives

Southee said New Zealand captain, Brendon McCullum, "speaks a lot about it being the time of our lives and the last couple of months we wouldn't replace for anything. We never wanted it to end. We've made it last as long as we possibly can and one more big push and the guys will remember it forever."

Southee spoke of a sporting rivalry with Australia in which New Zealand were always "the little brother". He was asked directly at a news conference yesterday whether the final was about winning the respect of a fierce sporting rival whose attitude to New Zealand cricket has always contained a note of condescension.

Southee allowed that there had been cause in the past for Australia to view New Zealand in that manner.

"In times gone by, we haven't played to our potential or been as consistent as we should have been," he said. "In the last two years, we've slowly, slowly gained a bit more respect because of the brand of cricket we're playing.

"We respect Australia. They're a quality side and they're not No. 1 in the world for no reason.

"It's an awesome opportunity," he said. "It's going to be a great game of cricket. Obviously both teams are playing exceptionally well at the moment and both are playing a great brand of cricket so it should be an exciting game and a great game to watch."