ew Zealand were denied a piece of history as their attempt to win a World Cup trophy went kaput in a rare failure in an otherwise flawless campaign. While the pain of falling at the final hurdle must have taken some time to subside, what they have learned from their heartbreak will come to the fore when they take field against a fast improving England at the Feroz Shah Kotla in the first semi-final of the World T20 on Wednesday evening.
New Zealand must be having a Deja vu. Their latest challenge to claim a world title is unfolding in a similar fashion as that of the 50 over World Cup they co-hosted in 2015. Four matches, four different venues, four wins. The only semi-finalists who are yet to lose. All boxes have been ticked so far. The praise has been high from all around. Two more hurdles and the glory will be theirs. History is a grim reminder of their failure to land knockout punches. They'll fight to correct that anomaly. And they seem well prepared having dealt with the challenges that teams like India, Pakistan and Australia who posed with disdain.
England, on the other hand, encountered a major roadblock in Chris Gayle who swatted them for a dominating West Indies victory in their tournament opener. The word 'resurgence' has been attached to them since their rise from the lows of 2015 World Cup. South Africa, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka have been witness to that. The team has peaked at just the right time. Time is now ripe to deliver the knockout punch.