New Zealand cricket teams have a habit of punching above their weight at World Cups; the WHITE FERNS have been runners-up three times, while the BLACKCAPS’ achievements at the 2015 World Cup are fresh in our minds. For all that, there has been just one tournament where potential has turned into success.
In 2000, New Zealand hosted the Women’s Cricket World Cup for the second time having previously been home to the 1982 edition. Freshly renamed as the WHITE FERNS, New Zealand Cricket’s own marketing emphasised that this was “New Zealand’s best chance to win a World Cup.” The team bought into this notion, with an intense 18 months of preparation leading in to the tournament peaking with trainings up to 14 times a week. The WHITE FERNS began the 2000-01 home summer with a dominant series against England, sweeping the series across six ODIs. As attention turned to the World Cup, the players found themselves ast the heart of a massive marketing push with appearances on radio, sponsor promotions, school visits and even on the back of buses.
I remember we were all very proud to be hosting. Very proud to be representing NZ.
– Haidee Tiffen
The tournament’s opening game, a much-hyped rematch of the previous World Cup final against Australia, quickly brought the hosts back to ground as they lost by 6 wickets. The result, however, steeled the team’s resolve as they marched through the rest of the tournament unbeaten. With a convincing semi-final win over India they were, once again, faced with the might of Australia in the final.
After posting 184, the WHITE FERNS knew they would have to field out of their skins in order to take out the title. Which is exactly what they did. Led by two spectacular run outs from Helen Watson, the WHITE FERNS got to the final over needing one wicket, while Australia needed just four runs. It only took one ball for New Zealand to seal the historic victory, sparking massive celebrations as players and fans shared in one of New Zealand cricket’s greatest moments.
The wicket happened first ball – caught behind. Huge nick and great catch by Rollsy. Absolute pandemonium . . .
– Catherine Campbell