Brendon McCullum
Brendon McCullum AP Photo - Rick Rycroft

The Black Caps' semi win was worth all my mad screaming

FIRSTLY, an apology to the punters in the Kingaroy Hotel.

I was the mad Kiwi screaming at the TV screen as the Black Caps powered past South Africa in Tuesday's World Cup cricket semi-final.

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Yes, it was unseemly, yes it may have ruined your night.

But be thankful - I did keep my shirt on, and I didn't resort to the haka.

My reaction will have been mirrored by Kiwis around the world - the win, our first in a semi-final on cricket's biggest stage in seven attempts, rates as one of our best results in any sport.

We expect to win on the rugby field. But it's not the case on the cricket pitch. There, we're the scrappers, the punch-above-our-weight triers.

If we win one in five against Australia, we're generally happy.

Having a team that can actually regularly knock over the world's best sides is not something we're used to.

The effort in reaching the final is momentous. It ranks up there with winning yachting's America's Cup off San Diego in 1995, with the All Whites making the World Cup soccer finals for the first time (Spain, 1982), the Tall Blacks making the semi-finals of the world basketball champs (US, 2002), and Chris Lewis making the Wimbledon final (lost to John McEnroe, 1983).

And the ride isn't over yet.

Each one of the top six batsmen has almost single-handedly won a game this tournament. Trent Boult is on track to be the leading wicket-taker. The fielding unit is probably the best in the tournament.

And they haven't faced a situation they couldn't handle.

It'll be tougher at the MCG on Sunday. But they'll make a game of it, you can almost guarantee that. No guarantees, though, on the shirt this time, if the impossible happens.

Bryce Johns is the editorial director of Australian Regional Media.

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