NZ Black Caps just two games from Cricket World Cup finals – play South Africa in Tuesday’s semifinal…

New Zealand cricket will never be quite the same after this tournament:  Anything is possible with this team now.

LEADING THE WAY: Brendon McCullum at the crease against the West Indies in Wellington.

From the first match of this World Cup, from the very first over, they have sought to impose themselves, to set and control the pace of play

Sambit Bal reports: New Zealand is a rugby country, unmistakably. The Regional Stadium in Wellington is a rugby stadium dressed up for the cricket World Cup. The images around the stadium are of rugby players, and even of rock and pop bands, because they host concerts here. But inside the elevators that bring you to the media centre and the corporate boxes, there’s a photograph of Brendon McCullum walking out to bat. You can see only his back, with his name printed on the jersey, but even if it wasn’t, you would know who it is. His bat is loose in his left hand, and he is walking through a sea of New Zealand flags and outstretched hands. He looks gladiatorial. It tells two stories at once: of how a rugby nation has thrown its soul behind cricket, and of how McCullum has built a team in his own image.


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