New Zealand are always in contention to win major tournaments and their victory over Australia suggests they are one of the teams to beat once again.
Every Black Caps fan hoped that we would beat our great rivals but with our record there - last winning in any format in 2011 - we expected a hard match.
However, Finn Allen set the tone up the top, put pressure on Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood and it was complemented well by Devon Conway.
Even when Jimmy Neesham hit a six off the last ball, you could see Australia’s body language drop. Chasing 200 was always going to be tough but in the first match of the World Cup, it was definitely a massive statement.
I’m sure New Zealand had the belief they could play like they did but the result definitely surprised a few people and, particularly, the Australian fans.
I always touch base with players and support staff, and they were nervous leading into that game. But I think they went in with a carefree attitude, had almost nothing to lose and it helped them produce a clinical performance right from the top.
Of course, this group of players have been around for a long time and know how to play in tournaments.
I don’t know what it is about the New Zealand team over the last 15 or 20 years when it comes to tournaments, not a lot of people put their name as semi-finalists or finalists.
However, they always seem to pull out good and consistent performances, and always do enough to make it to the latter stages. Hopefully, this is one of those times and they can go one better than they did last year.
With the Afghanistan match abandoned without a ball bowled and some other shock results, net run rate will play a big role.
You don’t have to look too hard into the mirror. At the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, we just scraped into the semi-finals on net run rate, which we carried through from our first game against Sri Lanka. This is no different.
There is still a long way to go in the tournament but in terms of where the team want to be, having such a big net run rate and beating the pre-tournament favourites at home in such a convincing manner will make everyone very confident.
Luck plays a big part in why New Zealand have not won a World Cup yet; it can be as much as the bounce of the ball each way.
At the last ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, the toss was a big element. In 2019, it came down to a deflection to the boundary, so luck does play a part.
But more often than not, the best team does win and at the same time you make your own luck.
Just look at the fantastic Superman catch from Glenn Phillips, it takes those brilliant efforts to win you a tournament.
Obviously, batting and bowling are very important, but those good run-outs and catches are going to play a big part as well. New Zealand have started well, now they just have to carry it on.
Content courtesy: ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC 2020 via Online Media Zone.