Last night I watched my beloved Blackcaps tumble out of yet another World Cup semi final as I have before and no doubt I will again. But as I went to bed at 4:30 did I feel empty? No. Disappointed? Strangely not. Angry that I would only be getting three and a half hours sleep for watching a game that my team did not win? Not one bit. This is a feeling I'm not entirely used to when it comes to the Blackcaps, I was happy with their efforts.
Maybe it was the sleep deprivation, or maybe the uni stress is getting to me but when I went to bed I did not lie there tossing and turning wondering why they do this to me but instead went straight off into blissful sleep. I'm so used to feeling bitterly disappointed with the team that I adore, I mean in the most normal way I think I know more about these players than they know about themselves so I know all the potential they have. Clearly this means I expect them to win frequently and win well. Last night not only did we lose we were fairly average. With the bat we were strangulated by a spinning attack on a difficult wicket but I did not see this I saw Martin Guptill play a fighting knock trying to get through it, the same with Ross Taylor. I saw Scott Styris batting the best he has all tournament desperate to put New Zealand through to their first World Cup final. With the ball and in the field I saw Andy McKay come straight into the team from the cold and bowl with pace and purpose, Dan Vettori bowled as if he did not want this to be his last match as captain and Southee ran in with such vigor in very trying conditions . In the field Guptill was harsh on himself, if he did not stop balls several metres to his left or right he was furious with himself he wanted to be the difference to get New Zealand through to the final. Lets not limit it to players even Allan Donald looked like he wanted to be out there bowling out the Sri Lankans.
In the end we lost only by five wickets and in the forty eighth over clearly we went down fighting. Maybe I wasn't disappointed because I have been there for these losses so many times that I am now numb to their effects, maybe now I am cynical as all those Radio Sport talk back callers who I love to disagree with. Instead I thought back on the tournament where Tim Southee proved my pre tournament prediction right as he took 18 wickets at 17.33. How we beat two very quality sides in South Africa and Pakistan and did not suffer an embarrassing defeat to a minnow like many predicted. How Jacob Oram performed at vital times adapting to his new role as mainly a bowler and disproving all those talk back callers who say he is too soft and should retire. I thought about how prior to this tournament how we had lost eleven on the trot in the subcontinent and now we were the last standing none subcontinental team. We should be proud of what our Blackcaps achieved, not in a "Oh wow, we got so many upsets and did far better than expected" we are not a minnow we are equals with these other teams so we should never be scoring upsets, did we exceed expectations? Due to our pre tournament form yes but this was our sixth World Cup semi final. It is normally where our tournament ends which was entirely predictable. From what I saw our boys gave it their all and more which is all we can ask so do not be disappointed instead be satisfied with what was a great effort from a team which I will continue to expect great things from.