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Final act in a well-written New Zealand success story

New Zealand have been excellent so far and their will look to win the World Cup.

Australia vs New Zealand, New Zealand vs Australia, Aus vs NZ, NZ vs Aus, World Cup 2015 final, Cricket World Cup, Cricket News, Cricket New Zealand will look to cap off their excellent campaign with a win in the final. (Source: AP)

New Zealand’s presence in the final of the World Cup is a tribute to the excellent planning put in place for over two years. (Full Coverage| Points table| Fixtures)

The entire group got together in South Africa in 2012-13 after a disappointing Test series there. Brendon McCullum had been elevated to the role of captain because Ross Taylor had stepped down. McCullum was thrust into the role almost by default. He then went about building the side brick by brick. The first step was winning the ODI series in South Africa. Then, Taylor was welcomed back into the side.

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The focus was on building a side that fought well. Emphasis was also laid on developing a strong pace attack which would aid New Zealand’s growth as a cricket nation. New Zealand now has a number of quick bowlers to pick from including the first choice bowlers like Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Adam Milne, Mitchell McClenaghan, Kyle Mills, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner and Doug Bracewell.

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The excellent run in ODIs at this World Cup was preceded by a tremendous run in Test matches too. The side has not lost a series since June 2013 in Test cricket. In fact the side registered a fine 2-1 win over West Indies in their backyard in 2014 and then later in the year went onto level a series against Pakistan.

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In New Zealand’s success lies the role of a leader like McCullum who saw an opportunity to undo the past when he was a subject of much ridicule. McCullum’s rise as a leader has resulted in New Zealand’s cricketing stocks also growing. McCullum’s own personal form has been tremendous. He struck the first-ever triple hundred in New Zealand’s cricket history and then also had two more double hundreds in 2014. McCullum has emerged as a cult hero in New Zealand.

The work put in by New Zealand over the past couple of years has almost gone unnoticed. Their rise in Test cricket has rubbed off on their ODI form too. Coaches have been changed in the six years with both Andy Moles and John Wright making way for a much younger Mike Hesson. The support group of batting coach Craig McMillan and bowling coach Shane Bond has helped the cause too. The return of Daniel Vettori from the wilderness has added to the New Zealand success story.

New Zealand’s rise as a cricketing power is also a tribute to their system because despite a small player base they have been able to reach this far. World Cup title is still a step away, but the work put in by a group of players who are peaking together is always the secret for a successful cricket nation. Remember, how India under Sourav Ganguly had a similar growth story because even then the core group grew together. But New Zealand under McCullum have grown much more and have tasted far more success.

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In ODI cricket the series win against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was a tremendous achievement too. Earlier in 2013, England suffered an ODI series loss too at the hands of McCullum’s side. Overall, it has been a story that has been scripted almost when no one was looking and only now everyone is scrambling to read the earlier chapters of this best-seller.

First published on: 28-03-2015 at 10:29:05 pm
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