ICC KnockOut win ranks highest among Kiwi ODI matches
It's been a long time coming, but New Zealand has finally managed to win an international one-day tournament.
Success at Nairobi on Sunday came 25 years after New Zealand played in its first tournament; the 1975 World Cup and the first victory took one year less than it did for New Zealand to win its first Test match.
The win has to rank as New Zealand's finest victory in One-Day Internationals.
A list of New Zealand's top 10 One-Day Internationals could be:
Gaining a place in the final by turning around poor one-day form in Zimbabwe immediately before the tournament, to beat Zimbabwe for a semi-final place, and then to beat Pakistan so well set New Zealand up for its chance. It grasped that with both hands and produced a memorable victory against a powerful Indian batting line-up.
Although two World Cups had been played One-Day internationals were still in their infancy when this encounter took place. The West Indies had just blazed through Australia and were the reigning world champions. But New Zealand, powered by that developing middle-order combination of Jeremy Coney and Richard Hadlee produced an outstanding last over win in the first truly exciting home encounter played by New Zealand.
Australia was the defending World Cup champion and came across the Tasman for the tournament opener with a dazzling array of stars. New Zealand, by comparison, had just played out a lamentable home series and been beaten 3-0 by England. But some fine Martin Crowe/Ken Rutherford batting, and some innovation with the bowling attack produced the first upset of the tournament.
This one hurts to write about even now. After reaching 262/7 in this semi-final New Zealand had every reason to think it had a place booked in the World Cup final. But the injury, which denied Martin Crowe a century, also denied New Zealand his leadership in the field. The so-tight bowling attack which had picked away at opposing batting throughout the tournament came unstuck and Pakistan, guided by Javed Miandad, and a new phenomenon, Inzamam-ul-Haq got home with an over to spare. In the cold light of day however, it was an exciting match.
The underarm match. This game did more than any other to place cricket clearly in the public frame. Not only did Greg Chappell decide to bowl underarm from the last ball of the game, earlier Chappell refused to walk when caught brilliantly in the deep by Martin Snedden. Chappell said it wasn't clear if the catch had been taken. A gentleman's word was no longer sufficient. But then as the New Zealanders learned later in the day, gentlemen had vanished from the Australian scene.
Not all great games need to be high-scoring affairs. This one certainly wasn't. In a must-win game to keep the series alive, New Zealand was all out for 158 in 35.5 overs. New Zealand opened its defence by bowling Dipak Patel and Gavin Larsen. The brakes were never let off and Chris Cairns was the sixth bowler used. He cleaned out the tail and when the West Indies were dismissed with five balls remaining, they were still four runs short.
Mark Waugh had taken to the New Zealand bowling again in the first innings of this game and scored 108 of his side's 247. Chasing New Zealand was in strife at 94/4 and Martin Crowe hobbling. But when he left for 91, Tony Blain and Jeff Wilson, in his first international demonstration of his sporting capability kept the side on target before Gavin Larsen joined Wilson to carry the side through with two balls to spare to level the five-match series 2-2.
England's total of 296 looked insurmountable to New Zealand. But Adelaide inspired the Kiwis. Jeff Crowe set the chase going, while a promoted Lance Cairns gave the scoring some thrust before Richard Hadlee joined Jeremy Coney to set the England bowlers a merry chase all over the Adelaide Oval. It was not one of the happier moments of Bob Willis' reign as captain while it represented a marvellous Kiwi fightback.
South Africa's top order feasted out on New Zealand's bowling. Gary Kirsten scoring a century and Lance Klusener and Hansie Cronje scoring half centuries when helping their side to 300/6. At 97/5 and 124/6, New Zealand looked out of it. But Chris Cairns (62), Adam Parore (67) and Dion Nash (38), got New Zealand up to 298 with a Nash shot landing on the boundary rope from the penultimate ball of the game. It was ruled a four but should have been a six. He was out caught in the deep attempting to secure the winning hit.
Fresh from a stunning first-up victory over Australia in the World Cup, South Africa looked a flash unit when arriving in Auckland. Peter Kirsten was the only batsman capable of making the adjustment to slower pitches and his innings of 90 was the only innings of substance as his side reach 190/7. New Zealand's top order assault was brutal as Mark Greatbatch and Rod Latham put on 114 for the first wicket at better than run a ball pace. Greatbatch's assault continued for the remainder of the Cup and was as memorable as the quality batting produced by player of the tournament Martin Crowe.