Cricket's Beginnings in New Zealand
Cricket has a long history in New Zealand. The first ever cricket match was played in Northland in 1832 and was organised by an Anglican missionary named Henry Williams. Ten Years later an official cricket match with recorded scores was played in Wellington and, in 1864, New Zealand cricket went international. The All England XI arrived from their stint in Australia and played four matches against two New Zealand teams.
By the mid 1800s, cricket had really taken off in New Zealand. In 1864 the first ever first class cricket match was played between Otago and Dunedin and, in 1906, national championships arrived
Finally things got organised in 1921 with the beginning of a cricket league. The Plunkett Shield was still the coveted trophy but it was now contested by teams within four New Zealand districts - Canterbury, Auckland, Otago and Wellington. Two more districts joined the league later - the Central Districts in 1950 and the Northern Districts in 1956.
New Zealand Test Cricket
On the 10th January 1930, New Zealand became the fifth cricket playing nation to be awarded the coveted Test status. New Zealand played their first official Test match against England at Lancaster Park (now Jade Park). With Tom Lowry as captain, New Zealand lost to England by 8 wickets. Unfortunately this set a trend of losing and drawing (but never winning) Test matches that New Zealand did not break until the 1955/1956 season. After a 44 series long bad streak spanning 25 years, captain John Reid led New Zealand to a long awaited Test victory over the West Indies. It was a glorious day for the team, who won by 190 runs. The victory was mostly attributed to excellent bowling from H.B Cave and a strong innings from the captain.
In 1998 The New Zealand cricket team became known as the Black Caps. The title was decided by a nationwide competition held by the teams sponsors.
New Zealand Twenty20 Cricket
New Zealand were the second international cricket team to begin playing Twenty20 in 2005 along with Australia and England. On February 17th, they played in the world's first international Twenty20 cricket game against long-time rivals, Australia. Neither side took the game too seriously, it was considered more a form of international entertainment. At the request of the Beige Brigade (a group of fanatical New Zealand cricket supporters who always wear beige), the All Blacks Team turned out in the 1980s beige uniform sporting retro haircuts and moustaches. The 80s look did little to boost their performance, however, and New Zealand were beaten by 44 runs.
The side shot back to winning form the following season, beating South Africa by 5 wickets on away turf at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. In the same season, on 16th February 2006, they beat the West Indies in a bowl-out. The tie-breaker came after both sides had scored 126 runs each.
All in, New Zealand currently rank 5th out of the 12 Twenty20 cricket playing nations. Despite losing to Australia in the first international match, they tie fifth place with their Antipodean cousins. Both have an average of 50% wins having played 12 matches each (the most out of all the countries), with six wins and six losses.
New Zealand One Day international Cricket (ODI)
Always at the fore of cricketing developments, New Zealand were the third international side to be awarded ODI status by the International Cricket Council (ICC). As of November 2007 they have played in 527 ODI matches, with the following stats:
- Matches played: 527
- Won: 226
- Lost: 273
- Tied: 4
- No result: 24
Great players in New Zealand Cricket
The black caps have broken many world cricket records throughout the history of the sport. Let's take a look at some of New Zealand Cricket's finest moments.
- Sir Richard Hadlee - The prodigious all-rounder reached 400 wickets in just 79 games. The apex of this fantastic career came against Australia in 1985/86, when he took 15 wickets in a single game. Hadlee was later knighted for his outstanding contributions to cricket, becoming Sir Richard Hadlee.
- Daniel Vettori - New Zealand's fastest ever Test century was scored by Daniel Vettori. He needed only 82 balls to do so against Zimbabwe while playing in Harare. In the same match, he also became the third New Zealand cricketer to score more than 200 Test, coming in behind Sir Richard Hadlee and Chris Cairns.
- Shane Bond - The paceman holds the word record for the best strike rate in ODI cricket, with an average of one player out for every 26.5 balls bowled. He is the second fastest bowler in ODI cricket history to take 100 wickets, just behind Saqlain Mushtaq of Pakistan. However, he need 54 fewer balls to do it - quite a difference!
- Chris Cairns - One of international cricket's best ever all-rounders, Cairns held the record for the most Test cricket sixes. He is one of only seven all-rounders to have ever reached the coveted double of 200 wickets and 3000 runs. He was also made a New Zealand Officer of Merit in 2005.
List of New Zealand cricket teams
New Zealand has several cricket teams playing regular matches. The cricket teams are below listed in descending order of importance:
- International Team: The Black Caps.
- New Zealand A Team: Play international matches against other international A teams.
- New Zealand Maori Cricket Team: Play international games against other pacific nations.
- Auckland Aces: First Class Cricket.
- Canterbury Wizards: First Class Cricket.
- Central Districts Stags: First Class Cricket.
- Otago Volts: First Class Cricket.
- Wellington Firebirds: First Class Cricket.
- Northern Districts Knights: First Class Cricket.