PM wants heroes' welcome for Black Caps

A disappointed Kane Williamson (left) waits with the Black Caps for their medals . Photo: Action...
A disappointed Kane Williamson (left) waits with the Black Caps for their medals . Photo: Action Images via Reuters
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the Black Caps deserve a "heroes' welcome" home after a "remarkable" World Cup final in London.

Fans in New Zealand were heartbroken on Monday after their team came excruciatingly close to a maiden cricket World Cup victory, only to lose to England on total boundaries scored at Lord's.

Kiwis stayed up through the night watching at pubs, university campuses and their homes, cheering for an underdog team that reached the final with inspiring all-round performances led by skipper Kane Williamson.

But the excitement turned to despair before dawn as England emerged winners in a thrilling finish.

"The guys are shattered. It's devastating. Tough to swallow," Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson said at the presentation ceremony.

Ms Ardern was very blurry-eyed and still "traumatised" at an announcement in the Coromandel this morning after staying up most of the night to watch the game, which the Black Caps lost after a tied game and a super over.

The scores were level after 50 overs, and the Kiwis matched England's 15 in a super over, but lost because they had scored fewer boundaries during the tied-up match.

Ms Ardern said she spoke to Auckland Mayor Phil Goff quite early this morning about how to welcome the Black Caps back.

"We've had a bit of a chat, one of the key things for both of us was getting a sense of what the Black Caps themselves would like,'' she said.

"Of course, they've been away for some time and just whether or not they'll all be in one place when they arrive... there's a few conversations to be had but there have been some phone calls already."

Ms Ardern has always been a cricket fan and said the final was the most remarkable of all the games she's ever watched.

"I think probably like a lot of New Zealanders I'm still feeling quite traumatised by that match. It was an incredible game, I can't recall seeing a game like it and I think it will just go down in history for just being a remarkable game of cricket.

"But regardless of that final outcome I just feel incredibly proud of the Black Caps and I hope every New Zealander does because they played remarkable cricket across the course of that tournament, and they certainly did in that last match,'' she said.

On an Instagram post, Ms Ardern said she felt nothing but pride for the Black Caps.

"I think as a nation we all aged a year in that super over. I feel nothing but pride. What a team."

England were helped along the way by good fortune, including a deflection off top run scorer Ben Stokes' outstretched bat which ran to the boundary in the 50th over.

Stokes' father, who lives in Christchurch, said he was thrilled for his son but bitterly disappointed for New Zealand.

- RNZ and Reuters 


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