Veteran New Zealand left-arm pace bowler Trent Boult feels his side is able to take its game several notches higher in ICC events because of the "amazing stage" these tournaments provide, indicating the Black Caps' dismal performance in bilateral series could be attributed to just this one fact.
While New Zealand have been right up there contending for the trophy in virtually every ICC tournament, their bilateral series record has not been at the same level, as has been recently witnessed in the T20I Tri-series played at home or the fixture against Australia in Cairns recently.
Their performance, though, in ICC events has surprised experts, with the team finishing runners-up in the 2021 edition of the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE, emerging ICC World Test champions and finishing second best against England in the 2019 Cricket World Cup, to name a few.
Asked about the contrast in their performances in ICC events vis-a-vis bilateral series, Boult said, it's not just the case with New Zealand, all the teams want to bring their best in ICC events.
"I don't think just for New Zealand. I think it's for all nations, especially T20 cricket. We understand how quickly it can pass. T20 cricket is literally around one or two guys stepping up on each afternoon and one or two shots can literally change a game. We're understanding that," said Boult ahead of their second Super 12 game, against Afghanistan at MCG on Wednesday.
"When it comes to World Cup pool play, there's a focus on every game to want to win, obviously, and it can get real specific with how hard batters go and what it looks like with the job with the ball. How that looks from different Bilateral Series and stuff around the world, I'm not too sure, but I don't know, you can just feel it in an ICC event that the gears go up a couple and everyone is there competing for that shiny trophy, so it's a pretty amazing stage to be on," opined Boult.
Speaking about the famous 89-run win against Australia at SCG on October 22 where the Black Caps scored a mammoth 200, and the fact the win Down Under had come after ages, Boult conceded it brought a "few smiles" back in the dressing room and gave players a "unique feeling".
"Yeah, I think there was a few smiles. Yeah, walking off the field with a win next to your name was a very unique feeling. But no, there was a little bit of emotion involved, but the boys were just proud, I suppose, of the way they played that afternoon at that stage of the tournament with all eyes on the opening game, I suppose. Just really, really satisfying. I'm sure we'll look back on that game as one of the more enjoyable ones, but hopefully there's still a few more to come over the next couple of weeks; that's for sure."
Boult preferred to be modest when reminded about Finn Allen and Devon Conway's devastating batting at the top, which floored the Australians, saying it was not a case of the duo making a "big statement" as such but the players giving the side "one of the more prouder moments".
"I don't think 'statement' is the right word. I think we've been coming here for many years. I've been playing for New Zealand for nearly 12 years and have never been able to beat Australia in a white-ball game in Australia. To do it on that stage, yeah, it was probably one of the more prouder moments in the Black Cap strip for me, to come in and set the tone in such a big game of the World Cup, and I know the boys were buzzing, but it quickly gets moved on, and like I said, the focus switches to the next game, and after that it's going to be the same thing. Just looking forward to, I suppose, repeating those performances and keep on setting that tone and go from there," added Boult.