When New Zealand cricket followers reflect on the competitions wrapping up in India, they ought to conclude it was a job well done by the Black Caps and the White Ferns.

There was more than a flicker of hope that the Black Caps might have pushed on further than in any previous T20 edition, having put themselves in with a chance to take the spoils. In the shorter forms of the game, the only time the New Zealanders made a final was after last year's World Cup clash in Auckland against South Africa.

The defeat in India by an England team on top of their game wrecked that ambition, but in reaching the semifinal Kane Williamson's side showed that on their day they can take on and often beat on the world's best. They won all four Super 10 matches in India and earned a semifinal place on merit, not good fortune.

In Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi, the Black Caps have developed two spinners whose talents could serve the team in all formats of the game.


Let's remember the teams which did not make the knockout round: Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa and of course, Australia. It is always better to be there at the end than on your way home.

Some armchair critics have picked apart the Delhi gameplan, quickly forgetting that the enterprise on show in the earlier games was spot on. The T20 format is so compressed that momentum can shift in a single over. Individual players can exert a significant influence on the outcome, more so that in other forms of the game.

The absence of former skipper Brendon McCullum, whose explosive feats have become folklore, feeds into the narrative that perhaps the outcome might have been different had he been in the sub-continent.

But that speculation undermines the work of Williamson and his squad. The young captain confirmed in India that his instincts are sound and his leadership decisive. He accepted after yesterday's result that the team was 25 or so runs shy of a testing total, which made the task tough for the bowling attack.

Defeat is never welcome. The measure of Williamson's character - and the fibre of the team - will be gauged by how the Black Caps perform over the next 12 months.

The White Ferns have not enjoyed the same exposure as their male counterparts but their success, too, ought to be celebrated. The side moved through the women's tournament with consistent form, and did not allow a punishing travel schedule to disrupt their endeavours. The prospects of the Ferns going one better than the Black Caps and reaching the final will be clear this morning.

Regardless of the outcome, they too have played with spark, innovation and confidence. Their approach left opponents guessing and delivered the right results at the right time. In Suzie Bates, their skipper, the Ferns have a clever, experienced competitor who has thrived in the Indian heat and led from the front.

The Ferns deserved what they earned. The game in New Zealand is clearly in good hands.

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