The Black Caps’ stunning victory in the ICC World Test Championship, a real David versus Goliath affair, shows that for its limited population and resources, plenty of talent, determination and drive to succeed resides in New Zealand.
Quite often in the last 20 years, Cricket World Cup finals have been some of the most lopsided games of their respective tournaments.
No doubt many England fans were hoping for a similar result but what we ended up getting will go down as one of the best ever games of ODI cricket and one of the worst ways to lose a tournament.
While English supporters are most likely still celebrating their sole cup win, it’s time to reflect on what will make this tournament so utterly frustrating for New Zealand fans for years and decades to come.
Boundaries? Whatever for?
It seems particularly odd, and not really reflective of the battle, that a tiebreaker should go to who scored the most boundaries.
Wickets have long been the most important statistic when batting and the number of boundaries has always been a means to an end, not a stat to decide World Cups with.
Don’t be surprised if this rule is indeed changed now it has been exposed for how ridiculous it is.
Beaten by a disavowed Kiwi
While England have always had a penchant for claiming overseas players as their own, this betrayal must sting the most for New Zealand.
Ben Stokes, born and raised in New Zealand, could have very easily been hitting the winning runs under Kane Williamson but instead he has delivered a World Cup win to the old enemy.
Trent Boult comically stepping on the boundary after taking a good catch and the throw that ricocheted off Stokes’ bat for six will be talked about in hushed tones in New Zealand pubs forever.
We haven’t seen anything quite like that for years and yet New Zealand suffers both in the final two overs of a World Cup final. The odds of this occurring, in a game decided by millimetres, must be astronomical.
Two in two
New Zealand’s second World Cup final loss in a row will be harder to swallow because they will have felt they learnt from their past failure, and for much of the game it looked like they had.
Will they get another chance at the trophy with India, Pakistan and Bangladesh rising so quickly to become dominant ODI players? Who knows.
Every possible bit of luck that could go England’s way did.
Jason Roy surviving an LBW shout first ball when the review showed 49% of the ball hitting the stumps. Roy went on to make 17 more runs.
Ross Taylor been giving out by an absolute shocker of a decision, stifling the charge home for the Kiwis.
Just one of the 17 extras New Zealand gave away being stopped.
In a game of millimetres, it felt like England might just have had a head start.