Manchester miracle

Matt Henry and Trent Boult going through India's top order like a cheat day trip down the confectionary aisle. Neesham turning into a headless chicken 'cos even he can't believe that catch. Guptill running out Dhoni like you dreamed about as a kid in the back yard. No matter what happens, the Manchester miracle is an all-time BLACKCAPS moment.

Pre-match all the talk was about the 'belter' of a pitch, when it actually held as many runs as a service station pie.

This campaign is a masterclass in marshalling resources. There was a plan, and then there was scrambling, right down to running twos instead of swinging for the fences in our three batting overs on day two. Getting just enough is not great for the nerves but with so many guys clearly battling for form, I'll take it when we walk out at Lord's.

Our bowlers can perform miracles. We did it to England and Australia in the last world cup. Bowled England out for 58 in the day night Test. Watching heightened spells like these makes you feel like the couch is about to turn into a unicorn and get you a McDonads breakfast, 'cos anything's possible. And we did it when it counted, breaking mighty India in just a few overs.

This team still believes even if some supporters got the wobbles after those last group games. Watch what happened at the end - none of the wild man love that happened at Eden Park four years ago, just quiet celebration and handshakes 'cos the job's not done.

And now we're at the big show, up against England, who've modelled their game on the 2015-vintage Brendon McCullum BLACKCAPS and made it their own. It's going to be tough, especially as their bowling attack has come into hot wicket taking form to match their marvellous top four.

But - this is England. Outlandish collapses are in their DNA. All the pressure is on the hosts, so we can just get on with the job.

Being Tough To Beat is one of the BLACKCAPS' key values in the last few years, and will be crucial on Sunday night. If we can get close and get some luck, like we did on Thursday morning, we'll be OK.

If it's Kane lifting the cup on Monday morning I'm going to be ecstatic but not at all surprised. COME ON.

Thanks for reading - Richard

The week's best NZ sport writing

Steve Deane attempts to sum up the BLACKCAPS world cup craziness [Newsroom]

Indian New Zealander Ravinder Hunia talks us through her feelings about who to support when her teams to head to head [RNZ]

Spark came out this week to talk RWC streaming, obviously, but how they're playing the long game. Industry vets Mark Jennings and Trevor McKewan heard the spiel [Newsroom, Spinoff]

When the Māori All Blacks play Fiji next month, MP Peeni Henare will call the match in Te Reo. On SKY [The Spinoff]

All Black Norm Maxwell reveals that despite his firey style, he was more vulnerable than we all realised [Stuff]

The world cups keep coming - netball's next, so Suzanne McFadden spoke with Lois Muir about her 60 years in the game, and how this year's Ferns are shaping up [Locker room]

Thanks for reading - Richard

Video nasty

Nike's ad for the world cup-winning US women's team is either tear jerking inspiration, or cynical cash-in. You decide.

Long read

After the Beatles broke up, Paul McCartney and John Lennon spent very little time together. This is the story of a wild night in an LA studio where music, but not much magic, was made [Longreads.com]

Selected weekend fixtures

  • Yip, it's us v England in the world cup final from Lord's on Sunday night at 9.30pm on SKY, do not miss it

Bring back the gif

Spending Thursday deciding if you'd prefer to beat Australia or England.