Heroes fall at last hurdle with nation behind them

It wasn’t the result New Zealand was hoping for, but Michael Clarke and his Australian brothers paid the ultimate respect to Phillip Hughes in Melbourne by winning the Cricket World Cup.

eight_col_cwcfinal

Australia beat the Blackcaps with ease.

It was a CWC final that broke the hearts of New Zealanders.

It was just a different performance than any other in the tournament from the Blackcaps, and it was the performance that the nation was dreading.

The Blackcaps won the toss and chose to bat first.

Mitch Starc’s wicket of Blackcaps captain Brendon McCullum in the first over set the tone for what would go on to be a dominate performance by Australia.

Nothing went right for the batsmen, and when Grant Elliot failed to rescue the innings, New Zealand were doomed to finish on a total that never felt near the desired mark.

Trent Boult again showed his class as arguably the best bowler in the world with an early wicket of Aaron Finch to give New Zealand a small ray of hope.

But lets be honest New Zealand – the Blackcaps were never in the contest.

Sitting in front of the television screens would have been a painful experience for the Blackcaps loyal, but what needs to be taken away from this is just how well our cricketers did to make it to that stage in the first place.

Brendon McCullum said quite famously “this is the time of our lives”.

It wasn’t only the time of his life, but the time of our cricketing lives also, something that has been said a lot in the last week.

This is the possibly the best Blackcaps side you will ever see.

The entertainment and excitement that the two games at Eden Park and Wellington gave to cricket fans is more than enough to warrant what has been not only our best World Cup on the field, but the most exciting for the public.

Winning in Melbourne against Australia was always going to be one hell of a task.

The Blackcaps may not have won this tournament, but they have captured the love and hearts of an entire nation on a level never before seen for cricket in New Zealand.

CWC 15: Blackcaps on the verge of history

The Blackcaps will take to the field tomorrow with an entire nation behind them as they fight, once again, to win a Cricket World Cup semi final.

1424473052714

It was in Auckland back in 1992 that New Zealand batted first and set a modest total against Pakistan, only to see their effort come to nothing as the visitors chased the runs down to advance to Melbourne, and eventually win the tournament that year.

Semi finals are something of a sore spot for the Blackcaps from an historical perspective, and if the pressure becomes too much, history will repeat itself very quickly.

South Africa is a side full of dangerous players in every position.

Led at the top by two superb opening batsmen in the form of Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla, the strength with the bat goes through arguably the world crickets toughest middle order with AB de Villiers and JP Duminy, and the explosive talent of David Miller as well.

Miller is a batsmen who if allowed to settle could smash 100 runs in a handful of over’s on a ground as tiny as Eden Park.

On the bowling front is one of the games best pace bowlers, Dale Steyn,

Steyn’s brilliance is backed up by spin bowler Imran Tahir, one of the leading wicket takers in the world cup so far.

It isn’t as if the Blackcaps haven’t performed well against teams with some seriously good cricketers either.

Australia, Sri Lanka, and England for that matter were no mugs and players like David Warner, Kumar Sangakarra, and Eoin Morgan don’t usually miss fire to often.

This Blackcaps unit hasn’t fluked their way to a semi final at this world cup – they have got there through some brilliant cricket especially with the ball.

The news of Adam Milne’s tournament-ending injury is a big blow for the Blackcaps in terms of a pace standpoint, a factor that could well have undone the likes of AB de Villiers early on.

Wether it is Mitchell McClenaghan or Matt Henry, the replacement for Milne goes into Eden Park with the ability to be just as potent with the white ball.

Runs will come easily at such a small ground with such powerful batsmen on both sides, but as the game against Australia proved for the Blackcaps, with strong bowling even the most powerful of batting line ups can be torn apart in good batting conditions.

How will Daniel Vettori go in what will likely be his last home game for his country?

Brendon McCullum as captain has been brilliant in the last month, but he needs to play an extremely mature role with the bat in this match, regardless of if the Blackcaps bat first or are chasing.

Martin Guptill averages 11 against South Africa, but traditionally performs well at Eden Park.

Based on form, Blackcaps should win and win well.

South Africa have been the talk of the tournament both prior to its beginning and during, but they have stumbled their way to the playoffs before easily taking care of Sri Lanka in the quarters.

But with such an explosive batting and bowling line up with amazing consistency, South Africa in the minds of many are still favourites in this semi final, despite the level of expectation that a packed Eden Park will give to the Blackcaps.

History is meant to be re written, and for both sides tomorrow is opportunity to do so.

But this is the time for the Blackcaps, it has to be now.

CWC 15: Big Sri Lankan challenge awaits Australia

Australia is still a side looked at as big CWC contenders despite a tight squeeze in Pool A heading towards the finals.

Australia-vs-Afghanistan-Live-Streaming

The Australian media slammed the performance of the side following their batting collapse and eventual narrow lose to New Zealand last Saturday.

Despite Australia’s bounce back coming against an associate nation, Australia returned to their dominant best yesterday against the U.A.E in Perth.

Posting 417 batting first, Australia never looked anything but certain and thumped the U.A.E by a record 275-runs.

Warner blasted 178, before Glenn Maxwell bashed 88.

Mitchell Johnson took 4 wickets with the ball, pace bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Mitch Starc joined with two wickets each.

Shane Watson has been dropped from the side for the returning power of James Faulkner, though Faulkner failed to deliver in his first match back.

Australia currently sit third in Pool A, and if they beat Sri Lanka on Sunday, will qualify for the quarter finals, where they could play South Africa, and if successful in that bout, a potential rematch with New Zealand back at Eden Park.

Sri Lanka are fresh off a dominant victory over England in Wellington last Sunday.

Sunday’s clash against Sri Lanka will be crucial for the Australian’s to win and win well.

Ireland add more misery to West Indies Cricket

It didn’t take Ireland long to cause an upset at the Cricket World Cup as the green machine stuffed out the West Indies by a comfortable margin of 4 wickets this afternoon.

147371-ireland

It wasn’t as if Ireland chased down a mediocre score to win either.

The West Indies set a total of 304, and the Irish chased it down with relative ease.

The West Indies were in trouble early, but like other teams have shown already at this CWC, managed to use a couple of batsmen to work their way to a good strong total.

Ireland in their reply batted what could be called almost the perfect run chase.

All the batsmen put in solid scores, including a brilliant knock of 92 by opener Paul Stirling in an effort which saw Ireland heading towards a potential at the midway point.

A well balanced 84 by Ed Joyce anchored the Irish towards a convincing victory.

Middle order batsmen Niall Anderson smashed the ball to all areas of Nelson’s Saxton Oval, ending on an beaten 74.

The West Indies have been poor right through their CWC buildup, and their opening performance in the tournament proper wasn’t any better.

Ireland beat one more big time cricketing outfit and are surely now one step closer to being serious contenders to a top tier cricketing nation.