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New Zealand Cricket

New Zealand Cricket


Cricket in New Zealand
Hagley Oval, Christchurch

Cricket plays second fiddle to rugby and the All Blacks in New Zealand. Cricket is probably the country's second most popular sport, though, ahead of soccer and netball.

The thrill of cricket is, in fact, in the air right now, with the Kiwis celebrating having just won a two-Test series over the Pakistan team just three weeks ago. The touring Pakistan team played New Zealand between 18 December 2020 and 7 January 2021.

It, therefore, goes without saying that New Zealand are cricket aces and, at the time of writing, the men's team sits top of the Test Match rankings ahead of India, Australia, and England - all countries with much larger populations. The women's team is also highly ranked, though behind Australia who are the world's best at present.

The New Zealand men's team (nicknamed "The Blackcaps") also reached the final of the last 50-overs World Cup, in 2019, losing out to the heroics of another New Zealander, Ben Stokes, born in Christchurch but representing England in that dramatic final.

The Blackcaps' insignia is a stylized silver fern, which, like the kiwi, is a symbol of New Zealand.

History

English settlers first brought the game to New Zealand and there are reports of a match being played as early as 1830. Charles Darwin, visiting on The Beagle,  also writes of witnessing a game of cricket played by Maori in 1835. 

In the 1860s a team from England toured New Zealand and later teams from Australia and Fiji came too.

New Zealand played their first Test Match, a 3-day contest, in 1930 against England in Christchurch. New Zealand lost but drew the other 3 matches. They were to win their first test against England in 1978.

The women's New Zealand cricket team played its first Test Match five years later, also against England.

Great Players

Since that first Test Match back in 1930, the Blackcaps have fielded some of the world's best players.

Opening batsman Glenn Turner, who played county cricket in England for Worcestershire and all-rounder John R. Reid were stars of the 1960s and 1970s. The appearance of pace bowler Richard Hadlee in the 1970s led to greater international success. Players such as John Bracewell, Lance Cairns, Jeremy Coney, Martin Crowe, Bruce Edgar, Dale Hadley (Richard's brother), Geoff Howarth, John F. Reid and John Wright ensured New Zealand were a formidable team throughout the 1980s.

Since the 1990s New Zealand's standout players have included Chris Cairns, son of Lance Cairns (also an international cricketer), Nathan Astle, Craig McMillan and spinner Daniel Vettori.

Recently wicket-keeper batsman Brendon McCullum, who holds the record for the fastest Test Match century in only 54 balls against Australia in Christchurch, Ross Taylor and presently batsman Kane Williamson can all be considered world-class players.

Cricket Grounds

The most famous Test Match grounds in New Zealand are the Basin Reserve in Wellington, Eden Park in Auckland (the country's largest sports stadium, also used for rugby), Seddon Park in Hamilton, and the University of Otago Oval.

McLean Park in Napier is also used for international matches in all formats of the game.

Lancaster Park in Christchurch was unfortunately demolished after damage sustained in the 2011 earthquake. International games in Christchurch are now played at Hagley Oval.

Domestic Cricket

The major professional cricket competitions in New Zealand played over the summer months are the Plunket Shield (First-class), the Ford Trophy (List A), and the Super Smash (Twenty20) competitions.

Teams

New Zealand's domestic first-class teams are Auckland (Auckland Aces), Canterbury (Canterbury Kings) Central Districts, (Central Stags), Northern Districts (Knights), Otago (Otago Volts) and Wellington (Wellington Firebirds).

2022 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup

New Zealand is the host country for the 2022 ICC Women's Cricket World Cup, to be held in March-April next year. 

Eight nations will be participating: India, South Africa,  England, Australia, New Zealand, and three other teams to be decided at the qualifying tournament in Sri Lanka this June-July. 

31 games will be played in six venues throughout New Zealand: Auckland (Eden Park), Tauranga (Bay Oval), Hamilton (Seddon Park), Wellington (Basin Reserve), Christchurch (Hagley Oval), and Dunedin (University Oval).

ICC World Test Championship Final 2021

New Zealand became the first ICC World Test champions with an 8-wicket win at the Hampshire Bowl in England over India in June 2021.

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