New Zealand have huffed and they've puffed but so far only been able to blow Bangladesh down at this Twenty20 World Cup.
Tonight they confront the house that Chris Gayle built, when they meet the West Indies in potentially their final match of the tournament. A win, plus victory for Sri Lanka over England, could still put the Black Caps through to the semifinals.
But, as ever with this team, that whole scenario encompasses a variety of could bes and might bes.
They should have been good enough to eliminate those from the qualification equation.
They had their chance against an ordinary England team and never looked like taking it. Anxious and uncertain, New Zealand played with hope, but not conviction, in that match and deservedly lost it by six wickets.
Such is the level of mediocrity in Group 1 of the Super 8s, though, that an opportunity has presented itself again.
Some might say that mediocrity is a harsh word and that Twenty20 cricket is a game when even good sides can look ordinary, if luck doesn't fall their way.
But unlike Group 2, in which Australia, South Africa, Pakistan and India are the combatants, Group 1 contains only one elite side.
Sri Lanka are that team, with the other three wanting to belong in their company but not quite sure they deserve to.
New Zealand, England and the West Indies could all secure semifinal berths tonight, but it's hard to see any of them being a threat to the overall title.
Still, someone has to qualify for the final four and there's every reason to believe it could be New Zealand.
In Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine, the West Indies have four proven performers. Kieron Pollard has destroyed attacks in domestic competitions all around the globe, but hasn't threatened to at this international event.
So the Windies have four genuine match winners, as opposed to the five you'd generously suggest that New Zealand have.
Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, James Franklin and Daniel Vettori all have the potential to win games on their own.
Each have starred at times during this tournament and are backed by a useful supporting cast.The worry is their ability to live up to the billing.
Again, the England game had been their opportunity and they failed to grasp it.
Tonight they simply have to and if they can't, then they deserve whatever criticism that comes their way.
The venue and draw have been kind to them, they've largely been able to pick full-strength sides and yet Bangladesh is the only team they've beaten.
Should they lose tonight then it would be played five, lost four and no-one can argue that that's the record of a top-class side.
But, such is the absence in class within Group 1 that played five, won two might yet be enough for the Black Caps to advance, provided they can topple the West Indies and Sri Lanka complete the Super 8s clean sweep that their magnificent fans will be screaming for tonight.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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