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After losing in the semi-finals of the 2023 ODI World Cup against hosts India, New Zealand’s campaign in the subcontinent ended in disappointment.
However, there were plenty of positives to take from the tournament for the Black Caps, who will be hoping to learn lessons from the campaign as many of their players prepare for the T20 World Cup in 2024.
Blacks Fall Just Short In India
Rated as one of the serious contenders leading into the 2023 World Cup, New Zealand looked strong during the group stage of the major tournament. Looking ahead, punters hoping to back the Kiwis for the 2024 T20 World Cup will find New Zealand at a price of 8/1 to go all the way in the competition, while a William Hill NZ promo code will help get the most value for those backing the Black Caps.
There are certainly signs from their efforts in India that New Zealand can win the T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the USA. Head coach Gary Stead saw his side win five of their nine games at the 2023 World Cup to finish in fourth place in the table.
It was always going to be a big ask to overcome the hosts India in the semi-finals, especially after the Indians had won all of their nine games in the group stage. The two teams met at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on November 15 with spectators knowing they were in for a high-scoring affair. The two sides certainly did not disappoint, with India posting a total of 397/4 from their 50 overs.
Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer were the stars of the show for India, as they finished on 117 and 105 runs, respectively. While Tim Southee took three wickets on the day, the New Zealand bowling attack struggled to contain the Indian batting order. Given a huge challenge to chase down the impressive total, the Blacks Caps did look like they could achieve the feat at one stage.
Skipper Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell posted scores of 69 and 134 respectively to put the underdogs in a good position. However, both players fell to the inspired Mohammed Shami, who enjoyed one of the games of his career, taking seven wickets. New Zealand could not cope with Shami and their World Cup was to end that day in Mumbai.
New Zealand The Nearly Men In Recent Years
The semi-final loss to India was another case of New Zealand being the ‘nearly men’ when it comes to major tournaments. The Black Caps famously lost the 2019 World Cup to hosts England in a game that has gone down in history as arguably the best final of all time. Both teams finished on scores of 241, so the match went to a Super Over at Lord’s.
Even after the thrilling Super Over, both teams finished on 15 runs but it was England who took the title after recording a superior boundary count throughout the match. While it was scenes of wild celebration in London for the hosts, it was cruel heartbreak for the New Zealanders in a final neither side deserved to lose.
Moving forward to the next white-ball tournament at the 2022 T20 World Cup, New Zealand once again found themselves in contention for the trophy in Australia. Finishing top of Group 1 with just one loss in their five games, the Black Caps once again found themselves competing in a semi-final. This time it was eventual runners-up Pakistan who got the better of New Zealand.
Limiting the Kiwis to 152/4, Pakistan managed to chase down the total with five balls to spare to win the match by seven wickets at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Once again it was a cruel end for the Black Caps and another missed opportunity for silverware on the big stage.
Williamson Will Lead From The Front
Coming through all the World Cup disappointments in both the ODI and T20 formats, skipper Williamson has been a strong leader throughout. The 33-year-old batsman is likely to go down as one of the best players New Zealand has ever produced. Already the nation’s all-time leading Test run-scorer, the man from Tauranga has enjoyed a stellar international career in all formats of the game.
Williamson helped New Zealand win the inaugural World Test Championship in the 2019-21 season but the near misses in the white-ball World Cups will still haunt the veteran player. However, the 2024 T20 World Cup offers another opportunity for Williamson and New Zealand to put things right on the big stage. With the tournament taking place in the United States and the West Indies, a huge audience is expected to follow the fortunes of all the nations taking part in the competition.
Were New Zealand to learn the lessons from their near misses in the past and win the 2024 T20 World Cup, no man would be more deserving than Williamson to lift the trophy.