The Black Caps are set to take on India in their Cricket World Cup semifinal tonight, where they will become the first team to play in eight World Cup semifinals. Before the huge clash, Niall Anderson goes back into the archives to remember the highs and lows of the prior seven semifinal showdowns.
1975 World Cup – Lost to the West Indies by five wickets
New Zealand started well in their first World Cup semifinal, reaching 98-1 after they were sent into bat by the West Indies in London. Back in the days of 60-over games, Glenn Turner (36 off 74 balls) and Geoff Howarth (51 from 93) set a solid platform, but there was to be no acceleration forthcoming elsewhere. Andy Roberts (11-3-18-2) and Bernard Julian (12-5-27-4) put New Zealand under severe pressure, and nobody could respond. Brian Hastings (24 not out) stuck around, but even he took 57 balls, and nobody else passed 11 as they slumped to 158 all out – taking 52.2 overs to even get to that mark.
It was always unlikely to be enough, and despite Dayle Hadlee claiming an early wicket, Alvin Kallicharran (72 from 92) and Gordon Greenidge (55 from 95) added 125 for the second wicket. Richard Collinge eventually removed both batsmen, and took the scalp of Viv Richards shortly afterwards, but the West Indies' equation was always simple, and they cruised home with five wickets and 19.5 overs to spare.
1979 World Cup – Lost to England by nine runs
The first of what will soon be three New Zealand semifinals to have been played in Manchester, New Zealand won the toss, bowled, and gave themselves a chance of victory. While Mike Brearley (53 off 115 balls), Graham Gooch (71 from 84) and Derek Randall (42 not out from 50) ensured England avoided a collapse, steady wickets meant they finished at 221-8 off their 60 overs - an attainable score.
New Zealand's chase held similar characteristics. John Wright (69 from 137) attempted to anchor the innings, but he didn't receive enough support as regular wickets fell. Only Glenn Turner, with 30 off 51 batting at No 5, provided any significant assistance, but when he departed at 162-6, it was up to the tail. Warren Lees (23 from 20) and Lance Cairns (14 from six) got them close, but when Lees departed with New Zealand needing 14 from the final over, it proved to be too much for the final pair of Brian McKechnie and Gary Troup, and New Zealand fell nine runs short.
1992 World Cup – Lost to Pakistan by four wickets
By far the most anticipated semifinal New Zealand had been a part of to that point, held at Eden Park with a nation that had been captivated by the side watching on with extreme interest.
Playing against the team who had ended their winning streak in their final pool match, New Zealand captain Martin Crowe opted to bat first against Pakistan when winning the toss, having been handed a weather forecast which predicted heavy thunderstorms in the afternoon.
Mark Greatbatch attempted his usual quick start with two early sixes, but he and fellow opener John Wright were both gone before New Zealand reached 40. The successful combination of Andrew Jones and Martin Crowe linked up, but when Jones departed, making the score 87-3 at the halfway mark of the innings, Pakistan had the advantage.
That continued when Ken Rutherford took an eternity to get off the mark, and sat on 10 from 40 balls, but eventually he found his rhythm, and ended up hitting 50 off 68 balls in a 107-run stand with Crowe.
Crowe, as he had done all tournament, led the way, but on 81, he hurt his left hamstring going for a single. That left him with a runner – which caused an awful mix-up and his departure for 91 – but it would cause more problems in the second innings, despite New Zealand having reached 262, deemed to be an above-par score.
Pakistan soon found themselves in a familiar position to New Zealand, sitting at 87-2 halfway through their innings, and well behind the required run rate. Crowe, sitting in the dressing room with his hamstring injury, deciding not to take the field and rest up for a possible final, was wondering where the thunderstorms were – but they wouldn't arrive until after the game.
That left Wright in charge of captaincy. Crowe had planned to rotate his bowlers, as he had done all tournament, with several changes expected to not let the Pakistan batsmen settle. Wright had different ideas, giving the New Zealand bowlers long spells and only using five bowlers.
Still, Pakistan were in trouble at 140-4, needing 123 from the final 15 overs, with Javed Miandad and 22-year-old rising star Inzamam ul-Haq at the crease.
Inzamam immediately took a liking to the medium pace of Chris Harris, blasting him to the boundary as part of a game-changing innings. Dipak Patel – who had figures of 8-1-28-1 – ended with 10-1-50-1 as Inzamam bashed 60 off 37 balls, with Crowe left ruing his decision to prioritise a potential final over making the pivotal captaincy decisions on the field in the semifinal.
Miandad played the steady hand at the other end, unbeaten on 57 from 69 balls, and while Inzamam was (of course) run out with 36 runs still required, the pair had added 87 in just 10 overs. Wasim Akram came and went with nine from eight balls, but Moin Khan came out and blasted a six in the penultimate over, hitting an unbeaten 20 from 11 balls as Pakistan won with six balls to spare, and broke New Zealand hearts.
1999 World Cup – Lost to Pakistan by nine wickets
Seven years later, New Zealand and Pakistan met in a much less dramatic encounter, and quite the contrast to the other 1999 semifinal - the infamous tied game between Australia and South Africa, where Australia advanced on net run rate after last man Allan Donald was run out with the scores tied and two balls remaining.
There was no such drama in Manchester, with New Zealand batting first and scoring 241-7. Their top scorer? Extras, bizarrely enough, with Pakistan producing 47 of them, and New Zealand's innings relying on four middling scores from Matt Horne (35), Stephen Fleming (44), Roger Twose (46) and Chris Cairns (44 not out).
Cairns' late hitting, especially, gave them a chance of defending their total, but they needed to take early wickets. Instead, Pakistan openers Saeed Anwar and Wajahatullah Wasti added 194 for the first wicket. It was done at a cautious but steady tempo, and when Wasti was dismissed for 84 from 123 balls, Pakistan still needed 48 runs from the last 9.3 overs. However, Ijaz Ahmed (28 not out from 21) simply joined forces with Anwar, who finished unbeaten on 113, and Pakistan had no problems in getting home with 15 balls to spare.
2007 World Cup – Lost to Sri Lanka by 81 runs
Sanath Jayasuriya was gone for one. Kumar Sangakkara made just 18. Mahela Jayawardene was on 17 off 47 balls. New Zealand had Sri Lanka right where they wanted them.
Instead, Jayawardene pulled off one of the great World Cup innings.
The Sri Lankan captain was on two from 19 balls, 11 from 37, and 17 from 47, but timed his acceleration perfectly. With support via a brisk 74 from opener Upul Tharanga and cameos from the middle order, Jayawardene went from failing to score a boundary in the first 30 overs of the match, to blasting 10 fours and three sixes in the last 20. He smacked 69 from his final 35 balls as Sri Lanka bashed 102 runs off the last 10 overs – with even the superb Shane Bond taking punishment.
Bond, who had taken 12 wickets at a staggering economy rate of 2.58 per over in the group stage, returned just 1-56, and with Jayawardene on 70, Bond missed New Zealand's big chance, a catch on the boundary bursting through his hands and going for six.
Jayawardene faced 18 further deliveries, and hit 45 runs, finishing unbeaten on 115 off 109 balls, as Sri Lanka racked up 289-5 – at the time, the second highest semifinal score in World Cup history.
New Zealand lost captain Stephen Fleming nine balls into their response, and although Peter Fulton (46) and Scott Styris (37) took them to 105-2, they then collapsed, with Muttiah Muralitharan taking four wickets as they plummeted to 116-7.
New Zealand had a ridiculously deep batting lineup – Craig McMillan batted at seven and James Franklin at nine – and Franklin (30 not out) and Jeetan Patel (an ODI-best 34) added 59 for the last wicket. It was always going to be a mere consolation though, and when Patel holed out in the deep, Sri Lanka had claimed a dominant win.
2011 World Cup – Lost to Sri Lanka by five wickets
Sri Lanka again, and this time the roles were reversed, with New Zealand batting first and having to set a total. Regular wickets stunted that task, but a partnership between Ross Taylor (36) and Scott Styris (57) put them in a position to hit out, at 161-3 with 11 overs to go.
Only another 56 runs were added however, with none of New Zealand's power hitters managing to connect, and leaving their bowlers needing to produce a stellar performance to advance to the final.
They couldn't claim early wickets, with Sri Lanka cruising at 160-1 with nearly 18 overs left to claim the final 58 runs. So, even though a sudden collapse from 160-1 to 185-5 caused interest - Sri Lanka had a particularly long tail order – there was no run-rate pressure on Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews.
The calm pairing took their time, to see Sri Lanka home with five wickets and 13 balls to spare, leaving New Zealand wondering what on earth it would require to finally win a World Cup semifinal.
2015 World Cup – Beat South Africa by four wickets
As it turned out, it required the greatest moment in New Zealand's World Cup history.