As a cricketing nation, men’s Cricket World Cups have been a high achieving place. There have been 12 events, and New Zealand has made the semi-finals in 8 of them. Only Australia has matched that, and no country has bettered it.
The first stage of grief of this anniversary is the thought that this was our best chance of winning the thing. Maybe New Zealand will get to co-host the tournament again, because the 1992 and 2015 sides went through their tournaments unbeaten before they met their knockout endings.
And if they had gone all the way they would have been deserving winners.
The 2019 side lost three pool matches. They qualified for the semi-finals on Net Run Rate (not boundaries scored) mainly because the West Indies had used 13 overs in knocking off a Pakistan total of 105 back in May. And they had very narrow wins over Bangladesh and the West Indies.
Like Pakistan in 1992 it had stumbled into the playoff games ranked fourth on the back of some good luck and varying individual performances from Williamson, CdeG, Neesham and Boult when it mattered.
And when they came up against tournament favourites India in Manchester the experience of Taylor and Williamson read a winning score right, and then Henry and Boult on the morning of Day 2 sealed a date at Lords.
The 2019 Cricket World Cup final. New Zealand’s reaction to it summed up one tweet.
A year ago, I cried.
— Guy Heveldt (@GuyHeveldt) July 14, 2020
You would need a psychology degree to even begin to determine why that match has affected us so much. After all, the 2015 final was a bit of a humiliation, but we seemed to move on from that one more easily.
Perhaps it was because New Zealand seemed to have their noses in front for most of that final, none more so than when England was 86/4 almost halfway through their chase. But then all those little things went wrong.
None them were match defining alone, but it was the fact there were so many of them that twisted the knife again and again and again.
Rightly, no New Zealand players copped grief from the public. Instead it was a mixture of the umpires (of course) but more sharply the rule about most boundaries scored. Only avid followers of the game knew the rule existed in the first place, and the fact that it was ditched immediately following the match proved the point.
Rules for an ICC tournament that have their origins in the IPL are never a good idea.
Maybe the Ben Stokes backstory didn’t help either.
While the result will always hurt, there was the feeling that we could always be proud of their efforts.
Just remember that New Zealand did not lose the match. They did not lose the 50 over match and they didn’t lose the Super Over either. It was just that England was awarded the 2019 Cricket World Cup.