What is worse? When the team you support gets thrashed by a huge margin, is never in the game, and generally gets outplayed in every department. Or when your team maintains parity right until then end, when all of a sudden everything falls apart and they still lose by a huge margin.
Listening to talkback on Radio Sport this afternoon, a lot of people seemed to be more pissed off by the second option. The Black Caps had played their hearts out to be in the game at Lords, and for three days, and an hour of the 4th, it looked like they could really win. Then 22 overs later they were all out. What the hell happened?
A lot of parallels were drawn with the debacle in South Africa, when the Black Caps were gone by lunchtime on the first day. But that is a little different, because at least then the long suffering fans of the Black Caps weren’t even given the suggestion that we might win. No expectations were raised, and therefore no hopes were dashed.
But how many people stayed up on sunday night to see if the Black Caps could do the improbable? Thousands, I’d wager. By lunch most would have gone, along with our chances at winning the game. A palpable mood of disappointment has gripped the cricketing public of New Zealand in the wake of the defeat. People writing comments on blogs, ringing into talkback and talking in the street don’t seem that angry, after all we have seen this happen so many times already. But the hope, and loss of it, hurts.
Limited Overs has recently blogged about the pain of watching football, when you are sure that your beloved team is about to throw it away. But Arsenal, his team, wins far more often than they lose, as evidenced by their 4th place in the English Premier League. The New Zealand cricket team inflicts a different kind of pain on their fans. We know they aren’t going to win often, and thats fine. There are many good cricket teams out there, and we don’t play Bangladesh very often. There isn’t any point getting angry about defeats like this.
But it is disappointing.