The White Ferns are dreaming of a World Cup miracle, but they're about to be woken up.
A 33-run defeat to Australia in their second game of the Twenty20 Women's Cricket World Cup has dropped the White Ferns to 0-2, and left them requiring a series of outcomes ranging from "Plausible" to "Preposterous" to have any hope of qualifying for the semifinals.
What needs to happen for the Ferns to make the semifinals? Well, a lot:
• Ireland need to beat India on Friday morning
• Australia need to beat India on Sunday morning
• The Ferns need to beat both Pakistan and Ireland
• The Ferns need to end up with a higher net run rate than India
In reality though, you could stop hypothesising after the first proviso.
Remember Ireland? They were the team who the Ferns beat by 305, 306, and 347 runs in three ODIs earlier this year, and have been swatted by Australia (by nine wickets) and Pakistan (by 38 runs) so far in the World T20.
So, yeah, the White Ferns are out of the World Cup, and worse than that - set for their worst result in the history of the tournament.
Only once before have the Ferns not made the semifinals, and in that year – 2014 – they won three of four games, only to miss out on the semis due to net run rate.
This time, they'll go no better than 2-2, and they can't have any complaints, after Australia proved why they are the prohibitive favourites to win the whole shebang.
Batting first, Australia's target of 154 didn't seem overwhelming; in fact it appeared moderately hopeful for the White Ferns, after they had pegged their rivals back from a dominant position at 71-0 through eight overs.
The spin of Leigh Kasperek (3-25) did most of the damage, but while some elements of a moral victory had been accomplished, an actual victory was still going to prove difficult on the Guyana wicket against a classy Australian attack.
So it proved as the Ferns' hopes and dreams dissipated within three overs. Back to the pavilion went Anna Peterson, Sophie Devine and Amy Satterthwaite, and at 13-3, their World Cup was realistically over.
Suzie Bates, as she has so many times before, gave the Ferns some hope, hitting 44 from 41 balls and putting on 62 for the fourth wicket with Katey Martin, but the required run rate was always rising, and once Martin fell, so did the rest of the Ferns.
From 75-3, the Ferns were bowled out for 120; what will be a limp end to a tournament which had the potential to springboard the White Ferns to greater relevancy in the New Zealand sporting landscape.
Admittedly, their chance of creating mass interest back home wasn't helped by a front-loaded schedule. Had their upcoming games – and likely victories - against Pakistan and Ireland appeared earlier in the schedule, the White Ferns could have slowly built up support and interest, culminating in plenty of intrigue for their decisive showdowns against India and Australia.
Instead, the reverse happened. With the Ferns 0-2 and likely eliminated from the tournament before their clash with Pakistan on Friday morning, the remaining two games are set to go by without fanfare – denying a rising group of players a superb chance to hit the spotlight.
Still, there's an easy solution to that – win games. The White Ferns haven't, and instead of hitting the spotlight, their Cup campaign faces a gloomy conclusion.