The New Zealand 16 and Under Indoor Cricket Team was crowned champions earlier this month at the inaugural Indoor Cricket Junior World Cup in South Africa.
The squad of ten came away victorious from the seven day tournament when they bet Australia in the final on October 7th (NZ time). It represented the only division that the Australians didn’t win, who took out the 12 and Under Boys, 14 and Under Boys and 16 and Under Girls grades.
The title came on the back of extensive preparation, with planning having been put in place since July 2011 where NZ squared off against South Africa in a 5 match test series in Wellington. Players were selected from the New Zealand Junior Nationals, where the six main provinces come together for their annual tournament.
The final squad to contest the 2012 World Cup was announced in July this year and was followed up by two training camps in Auckland before departing for South Africa. They began their tournament October 1st (NZ time) and played 11 games in total, including the final.
Five other teams contested their grade, which featured Australia, Sri Lanka and three South African sides. At the end of the 10 match round-robin they had lost just once to Australia, but finished two points ahead of their neighbouring rivals to claim top spot.
This meant the team automatically qualified for the final, where they squared off against Australia for the third time. Little had separated the two teams, with each having recorded narrow victories over one another already in the tournament.
The Kiwis fielding first started strongly in the final, restricting Australia’s normally high scoring opening partnership to just 20 runs. The second pair scored 26 and the third just 8 runs putting NZ in a strong position having Australia just 54 off twelve overs. The final pair scored 27 thus leaving the Kiwis 82 to win the World Cup Final. NZ opened up their batting with a first partnership of 42 followed by an equally impressive 37 for the second meaning the Kiwis were 79 of the first eight overs. Australia fought back somewhat restricting the third pair to just one run but were unable to contain the last partnership and were eventually beaten 100-81 by a very composed and impressive Kiwi outfit.
Jordan Dashfield from Auckland made a considerable contribution with both bat and ball and was subsequently named man of the match.
Over the course of the tournament it was New Zealand’s Daniel Rose who was the best performer, leading the division in both aggregate runs and wickets. The Wellington player topped almost all of the statistics charts and played every game for his side.
In the other grades New Zealand had mixed success, with the Under-12 Boys and Under-16 Girls knocked out in the semi-finals and the Under-14 Boys eliminated in the group stage.
The next Indoor Cricket World Cup will be held in New Zealand in 2014 and sees the Mens and Womens Premier and 19 and Under Boys and Girls competing.
The next Junior World Cup will be held in Australia in 2015.