Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is an international cricket team.
New Zealand made it into the World Cup finals for the very first time in cricketing history.
New Zealand rise in 2015 is highly significant, in just a year they have moved from the 7th position in the ICC One Day International Ranking to the 4th spot. Their achievements last year exceeds all the expectations in every capacity.
They managed to make their first World Cup final after 11 attempts; levelled the New Zealand record for remaining undefeated for 13 Tests at home; claimed the No. 2 Test Bowler (Trent Boult) and No. 1 Test Batsman (Kane Williamson) rankings; won a Test match in England after 1999 and went on to draw the series to finish a seventh undefeated series run; and ended their year by defeating Sri Lanka consecutively by 2-0 in Tests.
Williamson was the star for New Zealand, he become the highest Test Scorer (1172 in 62 innings) for New Zealand in a calendar year, and scored the highest centuries (five). By scoring 13 centuries before his 26th Birthday, he joined the elite club that includes Garry Sobers, Don Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar and Alastair Cook. His 2633 runs in ODIs left him only 235 runs short of Kumar Sangakkara’s annual runs record.
The quality of runs made by Williamson, rather than the quantity made his contribution special. His technical perfection inspired numerous cricket fans.
His composure when he smashed a winning six against Australia in the World Cup 2015 pool match, triggered euphoria.
Other great World Cup performances gave assistance to his feat such as Boult’s 27 for 5 in the same match, Guptill’s 237 against West Indies – the highest by a batsman in a World Cup, Southee’s best ODI bowling figures of 33 for 7 against England, the great catch “Air Vettori” by Daniel Vetori of Marlon Samuels.
The loss in the final battle:
Since their loss in the Semi Finals against Sri Lanka in the 2011 World Cup, New Zealand had been on track to forget the ghosts of the World Cup in 1992. They had their high and low points in intervening 4 years, as they faced Australia in final of the 2015 World Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. They lost that final battle, which is the only bad memory of 2015 for New Zealand cricket team.
Before 2015, New Zealand were hopeless both on and off the field. They won only 4 out of the 14 ODIs in 2012, while they lost 10 off 17 in 2013.
The debatable dismissal of their captain, Ross Taylor, it threatened to rip their cricket team apart. The negative influence of their Director of Cricket, John Buchanan, and the lack of order set them a long way back.
On top of this they also lost their star player, Jesse Ryder in his prime, which was a huge blow for them. After all of this, New Zealand still managed to put up a great show in the 2015.
2016 for New Zealand:
Brendon McCullum’s retirement in 2016 after their series against Australia in February will have an impact on New Zealand cricket.
If he remains fit, he will become the first every Test player to play 100 matches in succession. He will leave behind a lot of memories.
Williamson is looking like the logical replacement as the captain, however we have to see if it could negatively impact his batting or not.
In the Test arena, New Zealand will have 2 major obstacles to overcome, i.e. defeating India and South Africa in their home grounds. Their other main objective would be to have their maiden tournament victory at the World T20 in India this March.