It's been a few days since we slaughted the Aussies in the recent Chappell-Hadlee and it is good to get past the euphoria and think about it in a sober manner.
It is all good that we won; as the cliche goes, winning is a habit and it is good to get into the habit. It is also good that we exposed the weakness in the Aussies; that is, their bowling attack, which is not the usual miserly Australian bunch. Australia go to the West Indies with a brilliant batting line up, and a weak attack. Ironically though, I think the addition of Clark will strengthen their bowling as he is more accurate than Lee and more suited to the slower tracks.
Having said that, I think Australia will struggle to subdue the batting line ups of the Indians, Sri Lankans, West Indians and Pakistanis.
I think too that NZ will find the going tough over there as they face tremendous batting sides. Any chance we have relies on a fit Bond, Vettori and our batsmen giving the bowlers something to bowl at every time. They cannot have an off day!
I am really excited about the cricket world cup. We have nothing to lose. Whereas the Rugby World Cup is giving me the jitters as we prepare to face off against France, Ireland or Argentina in the quarters. I suspect it may be France and we know what happened last time we played them in a sudden death World Cup match (forget the play off for 3rd last time!). I wouldn't be surprised at a NZ-Ireland final. We have everything to lose in that world cup!
So back to the cricket; NZ is in a good place going into it. However, it is wide open! The luck factor is likely to come in.
The luck factor is underestimated as we pontificate on about 'the team that wants it the most' etc. Take the 1995 rugby wc final; food-poisoning! Take Tana's injury in 2003 at the rugby world cup. A friend of mine was recently in Britain and met up with the captain of the French rugby team in 1999 that knocked the AB's out. He said when they were behind the posts as 24-12 down he and the team knew that it was all over, they were devastated. He said to them that they needed a miracle and to just go for it. The bounce of the ball went their way and they won.
I think the luck factor will determine the result in the WI's with injuries, one-off innings etc turning the tables until the winner is found. It could be anyone of the top 8. Am I allowed to pray for it to be NZ?