Martin Devlin: Black Caps' campaign in disarray, but not over yet

Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Thursday, 4 July 2019, 12:50PM

Oh Dear. Now what?

The Black Caps Cricket World Cup campaign is in disarray after suffering our third straight loss, second in a row where we've been completely pantsed.

But before we begin to ask what's gone so wrong, let's first admit  that very little has in fact gone right. The numbers don't lie and the numbers simply aren't good enough.

Batting wise, Sri Lanka aside, we've struggled all tournament unable to establish any sort of an opening partnership. 137 against the Lankans, 66 vs Afghanistan and a paltry average of just over 11 for the other 7 matches.

As for our bowling, Trent Boult aside, we just don't scare anyone. We don't have the power and pace necessary to blast through a side, so our best is hope being to restrict, confuse, raise doubt, apply pressure, squeeze, eek and (hopefully) snare every chance that might come our way.

In other words, we aren't real world beaters. But then again, we never were.

New Zealand are not the best team at this tournament. No-one, not even the players themselves, are pretending that's the case. We're a bit-part bunch with a handful of world-class players that need everything to go in our favour and all our best to front at the same time. But then again name one other side that isn't in exactly the same boat.

Take the batting for starters -while we have had just one man to hit a ton so far in captain Kane, the Ozzies and India have only two separate century makers themselves, England the only semi-finalist spreading their runs around with five separate centurions.

The point being that nothing has really changed for us since we arrived in England. The tactics remain the same, our key players are still those who we rely on the most and our best hope is and always has been this perfect one-day storm where all the elements come together for us on this perfect day where we win the toss on a spicy pitch with the a ball that swings against an opponent slightly off their game.

What I'm trying to say is that the recipe remains the same. We've beaten who we'd hoped to beat, we've made the precious knock-out stage, now it's up to us to put it all together next Tuesday in a one-off contest vs largely superior opposition and hope to cause an upset.

So in the whole history of NZ cricket at these World Cups, what has changed? We're exactly where we wanted to be, in the semi-finals and hoping to produce a shock victory.