Cricket World Cup: Highlights, bad weather and good luck

3:47 pm on 14 July 2019

Analysis - On the eve of the Cricket World Cup final between the Black Caps and England, RNZ looks back at the key moments that led to tonight's match.

Cricket World Cup final graphic

Photo: RNZ / Suneil Narsai

1. Black Caps' 10 wicket win over Sri Lanka

New Zealand went into the Cricket World Cup with a win against India and heavy loss against the West Indies in the warm ups.

Starting against Sri Lanka, there was plenty of intrigue around how the Black Caps would go against a team that had caused New Zealanders' heartache at previous world cups.

But after rolling Sri Lanka for just 136 is 29 overs, the Black Caps produced a 10 wicket victory in just 16 overs.

Opening batsmen Martin Guptill and Colin Munro both received a fair amount of criticism about their form leading into the tournament, but they managed to bring up half centuries without truly finding the middle of the bat.

That first up win proved instrumental for a number of reasons: It was a confidence booster for the likes of Guptill and Munro and, more importantly, it contributed to New Zealand's net run rate of over +3.5 - pivotal when the Black Caps were tied with Pakistan on points at the end of the round robin stage.

Despite losing to Pakistan in the round robin, New Zealand went through to the knockout stage because of this.

2. Rain

The three things you can be certain of in life - death, taxes and a rainy English summer.

New Zealand were due to face India in their fourth match of the tournament at Trent Bridge in Nottingham on 13 June.

Coming off three relatively comfortable wins against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the match against India was meant to act as a yard stick for how good New Zealand really were against the best.

However, fans were never able to find out as the match was called off without a ball being bowled, thanks to that trusty English summer.

RNZ Cricket World Cup schedule.

Ground staff working on the ground at Trent Bridge in the washout between New Zealand and India. Photo: RNZ / Suneil Narsai

Without any reserve days, both teams shared the points, leaving NZ on top of the leaderboard and India in third at that stage.

The weather would affect India and New Zealand again, in the semifinal at Old Trafford in Manchester, forcing the match over two days.

As we all know now, that result ended up going in the Black Caps' favour, ending India's chances of a third Cricket World Cup title and giving New Zealand a second consecutive go at winning the title.

3. Martin Guptill's run out of MS Dhoni

Speaking of that semifinal, one particular moment helped catapult New Zealand into the final: Martin Guptill's run out Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Nicknamed The Finisher, Dhoni had been criticised for his slow strike rate througout the tournament and in the semifinal, but until his the 48th over he looked comfortable with the run chase.

The first ball of the penultimate over he hit a six off Lockie Ferguson to reduce the chase to 24 off 11 balls, simultaneously sending Indian cricket fans into a frenzy and forcing New Zealand fans to pull out whatever hair they had left.

However, two balls later Dhoni tried to sneak two runs after playing a short ball to back of square leg.

On the boundary was arguably New Zealand's best fielder, Martin Guptill, who managed to to hit the stumps from nearly 30 metres out.

That moment certainly made up for Guptill's struggles with the bat in this tournament.

4. The wicket of Carlos Brathwaite

Much like the semifinal against India, the Black Caps' round robin match against the West Indies involved a stoic run chase from one man on the opposition team.

New Zealand produced its highest total of the tournament against the West Indies, reaching 291/8 thanks to a 148 from captain Kane Williamson and 69 from Ross Taylor.

When it came to the West Indies turn to bat, the Windies found themselves in trouble early, losing opener Shai Hope for one as well as first cab off the rank, Nicholas Pooran, for the same amount.

Despite a spirited 87 from Chris Gayle and 54 from Shimron Hetmeyer, the West Indies always looked to be behind the eight-ball in the run chase.

However, middle order batsman Carlos Brathwaite changed all of that with one of the most memorable knocks of the tournament.

With the overs ticking by and the required run rate creeping higher, Brathwaite single-handedly kept the West Indies in the match, going on to reach 101 (22 of those runs came off Matt Henry in the 47th over).

By the 48th over it appeared Brathwaite was going to do the unthinkable, even with just one other man left in the West Indies line up.

However, on the last ball of that over and needing five to win, Brathwaite tried to send Jimmy Neesham's delivery over the fence down at long on, only for it to fall into the safe pair of hands of Trent Boult.

The moment was one of pure ecstasy for New Zealand and utter heartache for the West Indians. Brathwaite fell to his knees in disbelief.

Without that win, the Black Caps would already be back in New Zealand.

5. Jonny Bairstow's century against India

Coming off back-to-back losses to Sri Lanka and Australia, England found themselves in a bit of a lull in the middle stages of the tournament.

The pressure was starting to build in the English camp and opening batsman Jonny Bairstow aired his frustrations ahead of their match against India at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

Bairstow claimed that English fans and the media weren't getting behind their team enough and that it was easy to write his team off.

Whatever was going on in Bairstow's mind worked because the opener went on to score one 111 (his century came off 90 balls) in one of England's best performances of the World Cup.

His century set the platform for England to go on to make 337/7 and then reduce India to 306/5 off their 50 overs.

From there England rediscovered its mojo and rightfully earned its place in the Cricket World Cup knockout stages.

6. England-Australia semifinal

Despite finishing runners up three times, England had not won a knockout stage dating all the way back to 1992.

With the weight of nation on its shoulders, England went into the semifinal against the defending champions as underdogs at Edgbaston.

That appeared to change pretty rapidly when Australia were reduced to just 14/3, losing key men David Warner, Aaron Finch and Peter Handscomb early thanks to their strike bowlers Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer.

A fight back from former captain Steve Smith and wicketkeeper Alex Carey helped Australia post a modest target of 223 all out, and given how the Black Caps-India match went it looked defendable.

However, that was quickly quashed by the hosts as they chased down the target in just 32 overs and with eight wickets to spare after an 85 from Jason Roy, 49 from Joe Root and 45 from captain Eoin Morgan.

The English well and truly got the knockout-stage monkey off their backs ahead of the final against the Black Caps. They are now favourites.

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