2019 for New Zealand Cricket will be etched in the history of one of cricket’s widely-respected and enigmatic sides. This was a year where they by a margin of a whisker missed the biggest prize in the game The World Cup, as the year is about to close with the Boxing day Test after 32 years, we analyze the year for Blackcaps.
That being told, 2019 for New Zealand cricket will ceremoniously rewind one of inarguably the most definitive date for the much-respected side right at the fag end of Cricket’s largest fiesta: The 50-over World Cup.
It was 14 July 2019, a day that will be most talked about in New Zealand’s history for years to come. A day where opinion makers, fans, the great debaters will constantly question and perhaps scratch heads for in the times to come regard what might have been had the ball had not hit Ben Stokes bat and went to the boundary or had there been no boundary rules but these are ifs and buts that doesn’t matter now, what is fact is that the end resulted in one of the most heartbreaking losses (if the tied match can be termed as loss) which were dealt with grace and dignity by Kane Williamson and his boys.
It ought to be said there were major gains in the longest format concerning the big change that 2019 for New Zealand Cricket reflected.
The team under an able leader continued to rise in the Test rankings where it currently sits at no.2 in ICC Test Rankings. However, it needs to catch some ground in Test Championship where it has fallen from no.2 to no.5 and has yet won 4 out of its 7 tests whilst losing 2 of them.
The Boxing day Test, currently on, will be the 8th of the year and they hope that they end the year on high. Moreover, they also need to make sure that their reputation as team which has seen an upward trend in popularity in last 6-7 years continue to rise, it is only this reason why they were invited to play 3 tests in 2015 (including a day-night test) and again a 3 test series in 2019 which includes a boxing day test after 32 years.
One day Internationals
2019 for New Zealand Cricket was by usual standards a year marked with massive successes against Sri Lanka, whom they whitewashed with about the same ease with which a kid relishes his candy bar.
But the big differentiator and main talking point will always hover around the endlessly-debatable 50-over ICC World Cup final. Although, enough mind-matter has been already shed on the game on how the Kiwis were denied glory. But at the end of it all, Cricket has to unfurl 1 winner. It was England that day. Period.
But moving on, in all, 2019 for New Zealand Cricket reflected impressive ODI form though the team would’ve loved to reverse the utterly one-sided by 4-1 drubbing from the hands of from Virat Kohli’s high profile team.
But 2019 should forever be remembered as the year that proved that Ross Taylor, at 35, only 57 short of 1000 runs (1 hundred, 7 fifties, a strike rate of over 100), was not only going strong but seems set to stick along for long. How relieved, one’s ought to ask would Williamson feel with the development knowing that his usual partner-in-crime, Martin Guptill didn’t have perhaps the best year.
Looking forward to the next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia, New Zealand didn’t lose a single series in the shortest format, while they were not as dominant as other formats but they somehow managed to win the deciders and keep the momentum with them at the end. As the International Cricket has shifted its focus on the shortest format in order to make the game more popular and financially viable, New Zealand may target their first-ever world cup next year in Australia.
An All-Round Team
Apart from Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor, the team saw other individuals who put their hands up in the team cause. Tom Latham (543 runs at 54.30), BJ Watling (530 at 66.25) Colin de Grandhomme (303 at 75.75) and Henry Nicholls (328 at 36.44) were major contributors in Test matches which ensured that the team rose to no.2 in Test Rankings while Martin Guptill was another major contributor along with Williamson and Taylor. The Stock of Jimmy Neesham rose as an all-rounder in white-ball cricket while Colin Munro and Henry Nicholls reputation in the limited-overs takes a beating.
In the bowling front Neil Wagner (37 wickets at 17.83) topped the charts in Test cricket while Tim Southee and Trent Boult were no.2 and 3 with 30 and 23 wickets respectively. Lockie Ferguson’s performance in limited over cricket led to his debut in five-day cricket, his 35 wickets at just 23.71 were the reason behind New Zealand’s journey to World Cup Final.
What Lies ahead in 2020
The Crucial tour to Australia will continue with the Test at Sydney. Later on, India will tour New Zealand for a full tour. This will be India’s first Test series in New Zealand in 6 years and this is crucial for the financial health of New Zealand, as the board has suffered losses in the last three years (2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19). The Tour of West Indies which will comprise only limited over games will be important as the team will gear up for T20 World Cup while Bangladesh tour will have two tests which will a chance to New Zealand to continue their impressive record in sub-continent. The year will end with Pakistan and West Indies touring New Zealand at the end of the year. The team is also planning well in advance to prepare for the World Cup as Australia, West Indies and Bangladesh are also scheduled to play 3 T20I’s each in New Zealand next year.
Marks out of 10: The rise in Test Rankings and ending world cup as runner up ensures they get 8/10 in spite of struggling at the Australian tour.