Thursday, 22 February 2007

Ben on...NZ in previous World Cups

With the World Cup only 17 days, 10 hours, 41 minutes, 55 seconds away, I thought I would look forward by looking back at New Zealand's performances in previous World Cups.

New Zealand made the semis in the inaugural tournament, beating out India and East Africa in the group stage, to go down to the eventual Winners West Indies by 5 wickets.

1979: Made the semis again, beating out India and Sri Lanka. Went down to England by 9 runs.

1983: Failed to make semis, despite having as many wins as Pakistan in the annoying group stage (the number of preliminary round matches was doubled, but rather than have everyone play each other once, as would be done in 1992, each team played the other teams in their group twice; New Zealand and Pakistan registered a win and a loss against each of the other teams).

1987: Easily the worst Cup for New Zealand, with only two wins in the group stage, both against Zimbabwe.

1992: Far and away the best Cup, though we only made the semis. We dominated the round robin stage, sweeping aside all but Pakistan. But then we lost to the eventual winners Pakistan in the semi by 4 wickets.

1996: Young team made the quarter-finals to be beaten by eventual finalists Australia by 6 wickets.

1999: Another good Cup, making the semis. New Zealand were feared in this tournament...well somewhat at least. Australia slowed down their run chase against West Indies in an effort to keep New Zealand out of the Super Six. Lost semi to Pakistan by 9 wickets.

2003: Failed to reach semis, though so did other teams as Kenya burst through, making the Super Six only thanks to New Zealand's forfeit and then the semis thanks to the vagaries of the Super Six points system.

Summary: Out of 8 World Cups, New Zealand has made the semis 4 times. A statistic that would surprise many commentators I think, who probably expect that New Zealand hasn't done that well in World Cups. I feel also that in several of the other tournaments, we were not far off making the semis. Only in 1992, however, did we look like we could go further. I'd like to claim that New Zealand are natural semi-finalists in World Cups, and based on that alone, we should expect to get that far in the West Indies. And if we can get to the semis we're only one win away from our best result to date, and then...

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