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Letters from the Southern Man
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Understanding New Zealand is paramount to your immigration survival and to give you a realistic view of the country, its people and how we see the world, read our weekly Southern Man blogs. Often humorous, sometimes challenging, but always food for thought.
Posted by Iain on March 27, 2015, 6:42 p.m. in New Zealand Sport
Seats have been ‘shotgunned’ on couches. The whisky is breathing. The beer fridge is full. The large piece of beef is thawing and ready to be smeared in marinade in preparation for a slow barbecue come mid day Sunday.
Why you may ask?
Where have you been the past few days? Clearly not in New Zealand or in one of Britain’s former colonies.
Sunday will be the biggest sporting event since, well, the Rugby World Cup in 2011.
What do you mean we have had a Football World cup since then? Who cares!!??
This is our second national sport we are talking about. Cricket.
After six weeks of going through the pool games, quarter and semi finals unbeaten (despite trying hard on one or two occasions) the New Zealand cricket team have won through to the final of the tournament.
The old enemy.
The arch rivals.
The sons of sheep stealers.
No New Zealand team has ever made it to the final of the Cricket World Cup. Regular semi finalists but never a final.
To say excitement here is building would be an understatement. No one is talking of anything else.
I haven’t known this level of excitement since the All Blacks made the final of the Rugby World Cup here just under four years ago.
The difference with this event is we always expect the All Blacks to win the Rugby World Cup (not that they do but it is expectation we are talking about). We have only ever dreamed of our national cricket team doing the same and to come so close on so many occasions has been terribly frustrating. Somehow end up among the bridesmaids.
The Southern Man knows a little about cricket.
Our ‘boys’ have long been able to beat the big guns of world cricket on our day but over the past two years this side has developed into serious world beaters in every form of the game (it comes in three flavours which I won’t bore the American readership with here - but think express baseball and over in two innings, normal baseball and baseball where a game can last five days……I know!! Imagine that? I like to think of the five day version as being the purest of them all). This version however only takes an afternoon and evening.
The Australians don’t lower themselves to play us all that often in international cricket but this is going to be a game of epic proportions - it might be David and Goliath in terms of the relative sizes of the populations of our two countries but these are two teams that on paper are equal in terms of talent and both full of game winners.
Most of us are still recovering from the multiple heart attacks we suffered Tuesday night as we pipped South Africa with a ball to spare in the first semi final. We have had a few days to gather ourselves.
With Australia knocking out the Indian team last night there are plenty of tickets coming on the market for Sunday’s game. In a sign of how badly we would all love to be in Melbourne on Sunday, since Tuesday night this week every seat on every flight to Australia (there’s about 40 a day heading that way on a normal day) was sold four or five days! Extra planes have been put on but even then I know many people trying to get flights but who cannot.
This is our Superbowl. Our Football World Cup.
A chance to add the Cricket World Cup to the cabinet alongside the Rugby World Cup. And oh how insufferable we will be for the next few years if we do!
Don’t bother calling anyone in New Zealand after 4pm Sunday - they won’t take the call. Don’t email them either because you have no show of getting an answer. You might get an answer to a text message but even then i am not so sure.
For the seven hours the game takes New Zealand will grind to a halt.
And Australia too - it is their national game after all and they are, for possibly the first time in a long time, appreciating that they might not actually be favourites against the Kiwis (they shouldn’t be surprised, we beat them in pool play).
Given that the last team they’d like to lose to are the little upstarts from across the Tasman Sea will ratchet up the pressure just that bit more on the Aussie lads.
I’m counting the minutes. I might be in to work late Monday win or lose.
May the best team win.
Until next week - Iain Macleod