July 12, 2019: Congratulations to Kiwis for qualifying for their second straight World Cup final…no superstars, no super egos, no egregious fans…just a bunch of low key cricketers going about their job one match at a time without any hype or hyperbole.
New Zealand are the world rugby champions, but when it came to cricket the world cup has so far eluded them. Along with South Africa they are probably the best team never to have won the cricket world cup and so they are always sentimental favourites.
And unlike sub continental Indo-Pak rivalry which becomes more like war with national pride and prestige being associated with winning or losing. So today entire Pakistan would be celebrating India’s semi-final loss just as most Indians rejoiced Pakistan’s exit from the world cup.
India and Pakistan are a one-sport nation and its citizens unfortunately have one dream: that the other country loses.
Nowhere in the world will you have people wishing such bad things about a neighbouring nation. US citizens are not spending their entire life wishing and praying that Mexico lose in football. New Zealand fans will obviously not hate Australia so much so that a pall of gloom descends every time their trans-Tasman neighbour wins either in a bilateral match or against any other nation either in Cricket or Rugby.
Indians and Pakis have only one point agenda to be happy at their own success but to be delighted at their neighbours defeat.
This is the perpetual wet dream for fans of both countries.
It’s great that both India and Pakistan are out of the world cup. The hype and marketing was too much. Now that we have come crashing to the ground, it’s time for us to have a reality check. India’s record in ICC matches against Kiwis is abysmal. They have won only 3 out of 12 matches that they have played against NZ in ICC tournaments. But before the semi-final the way India’s superiority was hyped you would have been let to believe that it is NZ who has won only 3 out of 11 matches against India and not vice versa. By statistics alone, it is NZ who were the overwhelming favourites, but did you hear any TV channel, any commentator, any cricket expect telling us: hey guys your winning percentage against NZ in ICC tournaments is just 25 percent. That means 75 percent of the time India has lost to NZ in ICC tourneys. So the result today was on expected lines. The only thing was that the hype around this team was so much that the facts were lost in the din.
So cheers to Kiwis.
The citizens of a peace loving, understated and non-neighbour-hating nation have won and they deserve it. May they win their first world cup in cricket this Sunday.