We did a cricket podcast even though we lost. Because the Black Caps are just that good. 

There is virtually no debate that the current Black Caps are the best we’ve ever seen.

So, they didn’t win the bash-fest known as T20, falling to Australia yesterday morning in Abu Dhabi. But this is the team’s third World Cup final in a row in the three different cricket formats. Importantly for the purists, they hold the mace of the top test match team.

Today on The Detail a very tired Emile Donovan ropes in his cricket-tragic contacts to build a case that in spite of the result, New Zealand is a champion team in most definitions of the word. And they’re still the nice guys.

Australian freelance cricket journalist Adam Collins says there’s a culture of admiration for the team.

“The fundamentals are, the New Zealand cricket team does more, with less. I appreciate that’s a cliché but it’s also true … and I think people are in such admiration for what they’ve been able to achieve.”

Collins says that attitude has evolved and matured from a somewhat patronising ‘plucky battlers’ attitude towards them.

“When New Zealand come to major tournaments now, they are considered to be at the top table immediately, rather than an afterthought.”

He says Brendon McCullum was the spearhead of the New Zealand cricket renaissance in the early 2010s. He was quite clear when he took over that they weren’t going to play on other teams’ terms.

“The way they made a decision under his leadership to play cricket a certain way .. playing to one’s strengths. He realised very quickly that his dressing room wasn’t the type to go out there and try and bully and sledge their way to success. We’ve seen what can happen when dressing rooms who are not disposed to that kind of behaviour try and do it anyway.”

He’s talking about the Australian cricket team’s Steve Smith generation.

Canterbury Magicians cricketer and Newsroom cricket correspondent Kirsty Havill was watching.

“I love (captain) Kane Williamson and I always will,” she says. His innings “was just equal parts innovation, classic T20 innovation, but also the other half of it was just brilliant traditional stroke play”, she says.

“So if all the pyjama cricket haters out there can just acknowledge that, would be great.”

During the match, Emile Donovan also calls up Newsroom’s Sam Sachdeva, Newshub’s Ollie Ritchie, The Offspin’s Alex Braae, and RNZ’s Denise Garland.

Donovan spoke to Adam Collins before the final, and he talks about how the team was able to build relatively quietly from a low base.

“Now they are one of the big dogs. Now they are at the top table. No one underrates them, no one underestimates them … yet they’re still playing that same smiley cricket.

“And some people might see that as denigrating them as a group of players … I’m not saying that at all. My point is they have evaluated that the way they play the game, the more positive disposition towards it, it flies in the face of a lot of rubbish you see around the world.

“And yet who’s coming out on top at the moment? It’s New Zealand.”

And they can’t take that mace off us.

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