Cricket: Black Caps' best comebacks

Kyle Mills (left), Martin Crowe (c) and Shane Bond. Photo / Getty Images and AP.
Kyle Mills (left), Martin Crowe (c) and Shane Bond. Photo / Getty Images and AP.

Many New Zealand cricket fans have a love-hate relationship with the national side and their mood swings as wildly as the Black Caps' fortunes.

But traditionally, for most periods of despair and frustration grow moments of triumph against the odds, and the Black Caps' historic one day series win over South Africa this morning is a case in point.

Here are five of our favourite moments where the Black Caps have rallied back from a difficult period to have their moment in the spotlight.

"Biggest ever" ODI win.
Brendon McCullum called it one of New Zealand's biggest ever wins in a limited over series and it's hard to argue.

Following a 2-1 defeat in the Twenty20s and a 2-0 thrashing in the test series, New Zealand made the king of all bounce backs with their first ever series win in South Africa in any format of the game.

"I'm not going to underplay it, McCullum said. "It's a phenomenal effort, really, to come over here as the ninth-ranked team in the world against the No 1 team in their own conditions and to be 2-0 up in the series is incredibly satisfying."

Before the ODI's New Zealand cricket had truly been in turmoil. It shaped up as a daunting few months for new skipper McCullum. No Vettori, no Taylor, no Ryder and no Southee, a mix of injury and captaincy fallout.

The Black Caps now chase a rare series sweep in the third and final one-day international in Potchefstroom. Who would have picked it?

Black Caps test win v Sri Lanka in Colombo 2012
The up and down nature of New Zealand cricket was perfectly illustrated in their 2012 tour of Sri Lanka.

New Zealand turned around an embarrassing 10-wicket defeat to comprehensively outplay Sri Lanka in Colombo in the second test to win by 167 runs.

The Black Caps' win broke a 10-month, five-test losing streak, and came almost a year after New Zealand's memorable six-run triumph over Australia in Hobart.

Beating Sri Lanka in their conditions, with their impressive batting lineup and wily spin attack, to square the series 1-1 was incredible, particularly after the rough time the New Zealanders endured in 2012, with series losses to South Africa, West Indies and India.

Black Caps make World Cup semifinal in 2011
Heading into the 2011 World Cup in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, the Black Caps were facing a barrage of criticism for inept performances.

Pre-tournament they had suffered 11 consecutive one-day losses on the subcontinent and many suspected they had been tainted from this horror run.

But against the odds, the World Cup class of 2011 did their fans proud with group stage wins over Kenya, Zimbabwe ,Pakistan and Canada before toppling tournament favourites South Africa in the quarterfinal.

The World Cup dream ended with a five wicket loss to Sri Lanka in the semi final, but the top four finish quietened a lot of critics and went a long way to restoring the Black Caps ODI belief on the subcontinent.

Seven-in-a-row 1992
"Who'll rule the World?" was the theme song for the 1992 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and for a while at least, it looked like it would be our Young Guns.

After a difficult World Cup build up which included three consecutive losses to England right before the tournament and 10 losses and seven wins from their previous 17 games, New Zealand found their way.

Led by the inspirational Martin Crowe who won the "Man of the Series" award, New Zealand won seven round robin games in a row against Australia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Zimbabwe, West Indies, India and England before getting toppled by Pakistan.

Unfortunately they faced Wasim Akram, Mushtaq Ahmed and co again in the semifinal and bowed out to the eventual champions, but for seven matches at least the Kiwis ruled the world.

Tri series against South African and Australia
After drawing with New Zealand and defeating South Africa in the preceding test series, Australia went into the 2001-02 ODI VB tri-series as favourites.

The Black Caps on the other hand were struggling. Four losses from six games before the tournament to Sri Lanka and India hardly filled the New Zealand public with confidence.

But New Zealand came out firing. Led by hot new bowler Shane Bond the Black Caps won four of their first five matches, beating Australia three times in a row, and earning a spot in the final against South Africa.

The Black Caps lost the finals series convincingly, with Jacques Kallis and Makhaya Ntini destroying the Kiwi lineup. But New Zealand left Australia with their heads held high.

-nzherald.co.nz

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