'History of failing': Brutal reality for NZ after World Cup defeat

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Pictured left, New Zealand's cricketers are shattered as the Aussies celebrate winning the T20 World Cup final.
New Zealand's cricketers once again came up short against Australia on the world stage. Pic: Getty

Self-belief is everything in sport. Without it, you are next to no chance.

Serena Williams owned the court each time she walked out, Kelly Slater never crossed a rival he thought he couldn't beat, Tom Brady has been icing games for more than two decades, Pele single-handedly won games for club and country.

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All of them had a mental hold on opponents; all of them born winners.

You have to wonder if New Zealand's cricketers truly believe they can defeat Australia when it counts.

Just as the All Blacks routinely have the Wallabies beaten before a ball is kicked due to their history of dominance, so too does the Australian cricket team when up against the Black Caps.   

They dominate the head-to-head stats in all three formats of the game and have never fallen to the Kiwis in a knockout match. 

You could almost feel Kane Williamson's men – and an entire country – willing Pakistan to beat Australia in the World Cup T20 semi-finals to avoid the playground bully.  

Please, anyone but the Aussies.

Monday's disappointing eight-wicket defeat in the T20 final continues the Kiwis' history of failing to deliver against big brother in major cricket matches.

It wasn't quite as frustrating or as soul destroying as the afternoon noted batting bunny Mike Whitney saw off the great Richard Hadlee to deny New Zealand victory and seal a first series win for Australian skipper Allan Border in 1987.  

Nor was it as embarrassing as the 3-0 Test series loss to Australia in 2019/20 or the catastrophe of the 2015 one-day World Cup final where Brendon McCullum was castled in the first over, setting the tone for a heavy defeat that still jars those Kiwis involved to this day.

Seen here, Aaron Finch's Aussie side celebrate after being crowned T20 World Cup champions.
Aaron Finch's Aussie side defied their many critics to become T20 World Cup champions. Pic: Getty

Australia defies critics to become T20 World Cup champions

But there were threads of the past in Dubai as the Black Caps failed to cash in after Williamson's brilliant knock set up a very competitive total.

Remember, this was an Australian side that wasn't meant to be anywhere near the final, with a coach apparently a dead man walking and, supposedly, a spent force in Dave Warner opening the innings.

Mitchell Marsh, an easy target for the lounge room critics, couldn’t even make the team against England.

Before the final, former NZ opener Bruce Edgar declared Australia's "fear factor has gone". 

Yet, despite an attack spearheaded by the almost unplayable Trent Boult, New Zealand barely laid a glove on Australia as Warner and Marsh guided/bludgeoned their team to victory with more than an over to spare and few "squeaky bum" moments.

Spinner Ish Sodhi's "over from hell" – the 14th of the innings - summed up the New Zealand bowling effort.

He went wide, six, two, four, wide, dot, wide, dot, one – a nine-ball disaster costing the Kiwis 16 runs and any chance of keeping the pressure on.

It was cricket's version of the yips – and once again New Zealand had blinked against Australia. 

"New Zealand just looked like they didn't want to lose and Australia looked like a team that wanted to win," former West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite said.

Perhaps, simply, it's a case of not knowing how to win against the Aussies when it’s all on the line.

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