How's this for a bit of good fortune.

Matt Henry's brother Ken and a few of his mates planned a trip to the World Cup final months ago. Didn't matter who was playing; they wanted to savour the occasion.

So imagine his thoughts now that his brother will be bowling at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday, barring any selection surprise.

Henry, the late call-up to the New Zealand squad when luckless Adam Milne broke down shortly before the semifinal, was rushed straight into the XI to face South Africa.


He bowled well and took his chance - something he has previous for - at over 140km/h, as New Zealand clinched their spot in the final in the most dramatic of fashion.

"He's a massive fan. Yeah, he's pretty proud," Henry said of his brother.

His parents, Lyn and Jeff, and girlfriend Holly will be among the 80,000 plus expected to flock to Australia's sporting cathedral.

Henry, 23, is no novice to the international game.

Indeed he was a touch unlucky to miss the original selection. But he had played eight ODIs and two T20s since his debut against Pakistan in Dubai in late 2014.

When he got the call to join the squad from coach Mike Hesson, it was of the "come in and cover and we'll see what eventuates" variety.

So marking out his run-up against South Africa, he was not exactly the bundle of nerves of a newbie.

His opening spell of five overs cost just nine as he got into his work as if born to it.


"The boys were brilliant. We've got such a great unit and having been involved in the last 12 months, they were so supportive," he said yesterday.

"The key message is this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, just go out and enjoy it.

"That takes the pressure off. You're doing what you love, embrace the feeling."

Henry's first-class debut came about in unusual circumstances.

He was called in to replace Andrew Ellis on the final day of Canterbury's match against Wellington at Rangiora in March 2011, due to a post-earthquake funeral.

Wellington were sailing along in pursuit of 255, passing 100 without loss.

Then Henry ripped out five wickets in the space of just under six overs.

Wellington lost 10 for 73, and the game by 76 runs. Henry's figures: 9-3-23-5, and he was off and running.

The Plunket Shield figured, in a sense, in Henry's movements last week.

A few days away he was playing against Central Districts in Napier.

"It was a little bit quieter, a couple sitting on the embankment, then walking out onto Eden Park. Big change," Henry deadpanned.

George Worker and Greg Hay to AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis. Another big change. He had his name being chanted by the near-capacity 40,000 too, before he'd finished his second over against South Africa.

"This is a period never to forget, having the whole country supporting you."

But surely there must be a changing dynamic within the group. After all, this isn't another bilateral series. A touch more edginess round the squad, perhaps?

"Nothing changes mate," he said.

"We've got a group who have been playing international cricket for a while. Everyone's in good spirits. They're working hard. This really is a time to enjoy it, the best time of your life."

Henry has been to the MCG, as part of the October pre-cup reconnaissance trip. This week will be the first chance to walk on the turf.

For all the talk about coping with the vast size of the ground, Henry is relaxed.

"We'll adapt to the conditions, nothing's changed there.

"We play on all sorts of different grounds around the world. We've got to embrace it."

And yes, he's a dreamer too.

"If you ask any kid out there playing, they'd have those dreams.

"You grow up pretending to be these [cricketing] heroes, like playing with my brother out the back and going through scenarios like running in to bowl at a World Cup final.

"It's not a time to be afraid; this is something to enjoy."

At some point in Sunday's final, you'd bet brother Ken, somewhere out in the vastness of the ground, would remember those days, too.

Matt Henry

• Made his first-class debut for Canterbury as a final day substitute against Wellington in 2011, and took five for 23 in 5.3 overs.

• Took four for 38 on ODI debut against India in Wellington in January last year.

• Has 82 first-class wickets at 23.5 in 20 games for Canterbury.

• Has 21 ODI wickets in nine games at 17.33.

• Took 13 wickets at 16 apiece against Pakistan in four matches in the UAE late last year.

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