In 1998, NZ only makes the tournament after beating Zimbabwe in a last-ball minnow thriller in Bangladesh. In that match, Zimbabwean skipper Alistair Campbell makes a ton but is overshadowed by Deadball's favourite Chris Harris, who clobbers a four off the last ball to win the match - his score of 37 from just 21 balls is the decisive innings after NZ is all but dead and buried at 216/5 in the 47th over chasing 260.
The win against the Zimbos was the tournament highlight for patriots as NZ was shot out for 188, and duly KO'd by Sri Lanka in the 42nd over of their run chase. Some dared to dream when the men in blue were 5/3, before portly Arjuna Ranatunga saved the day with an unbeaten 90 punctuated with just 8 fours and a seemingly endless succession of waddling singles and trotted twos.
>> Most outrageous selections: Mark Bailey.
The year 2000 is the high watermark for NZ one-day cricket - the springtide, if you will, given it was played in October. This win gave the 2000 team some ammunition for their pub arguments against the "1980s cricket mafia" that pervades the game in NZ. The images of a slightly creepy-looking coach David Trist on the balcony, manager Jeff Crowe sporting a magnificent pair of Oakley frogskins, and Chris Cairns going berserk are indelibly etched into any Kiwi cricket fan's mind. I was very, very late for work that morning.
Having thumped Zimbabwe and squeaked past Pakistan in the semifinal, New Zealand chases down India's 264 in the final over, sealing a mind-blowing win with two balls to spare. Cairns, saddled with a knee injury, ended 102 not out, and the architect of our greatest ever one-day innings. The win in Nairobi earned the team a huge amount of respect - as The Guardian wrote soon after: "Last week its Men in White, a side that has about as many big names as an episode of Stars in Their Eyes, won the ICC Knockout Trophy in Kenya...The Kiwis have defied the odds and taken flight. Patronise them at your peril."
>>Most outrageous selection: Chris Nevin
In the 2002 tourney, New Zealand wallops Bangladesh but that ends up being a dead rubber after a humiliation by a rampant Australia in Colombo a few days earlier. None other than Shane Bond was the Kiwis' top score - with a paltry 26. Thirty-two-year-old Glenn McGrath is the destroyer, bouncing back reasonably well after Stephen Fleming smokes him for a couple of fours in the opening over. The former caravan dweller scalps Fleming as well as Vincent, Styris, Sinclair and Oram to secure a heartbreaking, ball-raising 5-wicket bag. NZ is 71 for 7 after 15 overs, but a last-wicket stand sees a not-quite-as-dreadful 132 posted in the 27th over, still a million miles short of Australia's imperious 296.
>> Most outrageous selection: Paul Hitchcock
America's ragtag team of expats is trounced by NZ and then Australia in 2004, meaning that once again we face the men in yellow to make the semifinals. That match at The Oval is another complete and utter hiding as NZ's lame total of 198/9 is trampled down by Australia (199/3) with more than 12 overs still to be bowled. Coming into the match, NZ was highly regarded with 13 wins from our last 14 matches and a rare swagger in the step - a misplaced one, as it turned out. A couple of dicey LBW decisions didn't help the NZ cause.
In the cruisy run chase, crash-tackler fisherman extraordinaire Andrew Symonds is to the fore with a fierce unbeaten 71 off just 47 balls, and completes the degradation by pumping Kyle Mills for a lofted six off the last ball.
>> Most outrageous selection: Ian Butler (when he was an old school tearaway)
In 2006, Australia completes another victory and ticks the box labelled "Give NZ a hiding" - making it a hat-trick of Kiwi executions in Champions Trophy tournaments. But this win was not as easily achieved as the previous two - although when New Zealand is 35/6 chasing 241 to win, a genuine contest was appearing extremely unlikely. A remarkable 103-run partnership between the reigning double wicket world champions (Jacob Oram and Daniel Vettori) ensures some tension. However, Groundhog Day eventually arrives and New Zealand is well short - shot out for 206 in the 45th over.
>> Most outrageous selection: Mark Gillespie (and not selecting Ross Taylor)
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