Cairns out to set seal on Kiwis' series

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The Independent Online

Chris Cairns, the New Zealand all-rounder, is confident he will be fit to face the West Indies in tomorrow's NatWest Series final at Lord's.

Cairns missed the final two group games with an ankle problem, including yesterday's wash-out with the West Indies at the Rose Bowl, for which he had not been selected.

He said: "I am feeling pretty good. I'm looking forward to getting out and having a practice. A Lord's final doesn't come around on everyone's itinerary very often so I think everyone will be keen to play."

Cairns had been a key figure in the Black Caps' five-wicket victory over the West Indies at Cardiff last weekend with a spell of 3 for 29 from eight overs.

New Zealand will be favourites to win tomorrow, but Cairns believes that is something they must get used to. He said: "It is a tag we need to become comfortable with because, if we are going to progress and become one of the best sides in the world.

"When you have that tag, for a lot of teams it can actually be detrimental - but with our side we need to make sure we are comfortable with it.

"We have spoken about it because in the past we've been backs-to-the-wall kind of guys. We've come out fighting when the chips are down and played our best cricket.

"But we need to be a front-runner and we need to be comfortable with that tag."

Cairns had pointed to England's middle order as a potential weakness to exploit and similarly he believes the West Indies' bowling attack should be targeted in the same way.

He said: "Have the West Indies got a weakness? I think everybody knows their bowling. They load up their batting and tend to perhaps go a little light on the bowling.

"They don't quite have the same depth of all-rounders that we have so there is a slight area that we can expose there."

New Zealand will have gone six days since their last action, but Cairns is confident they will not be ring-rusty and in the right frame of mind.

He said: "Sunday was the last time we played so it is important to address that and ensure we are right.

"That is the mental side of the game and, with [coach] John Bracewell being pretty strong and pretty stern, he'll make sure that we have a good runaround and are mentally tuned in for Saturday."