One-day cricket, sometimes called limited-overs cricket, began in the 1960s. Each team has one innings. In the early years this varied between 40, 50 or 60 overs; but from the 1980s it became standardised as a 50-overs competition.
The first official competition was the Gillette Cup in England in 1963. From 1969 to 1976 New Zealand participated in knockout competitions involving the Australian states, and won three times.
A New Zealand limited-overs competition between the six provinces was introduced in the 1970–71 season and by 2014, 913 matches had been played. Canterbury had the best record.
One-Day International cricket
A One-Day International (ODI) is a form of one-day game played between international teams.
On 5 January 1971 a crowd of 46,000 watched the first ODI between Australia and England. Two years later, on 11 February 1973, New Zealand played their first ODI at Lancaster Park, Christchurch, beating Pakistan.
The underarm incident
Possibly the most infamous incident in limited-overs cricket occurred on 1 February 1981 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia. Australia was playing New Zealand in the third of five matches in the finals of the World Series Cup. So far the series was locked 1–1. By the last ball of the final over, New Zealand needed six runs to tie. Australian captain Greg Chappell had the bowler, his brother Trevor, bowl that ball underarm along the ground to prevent a six being hit.
Although this was technically legal, it was seen as unfair play. The New Zealand batsman Brian McKechnie threw down his bat in disgust and New Zealand Prime Minister Robert Muldoon famously said it was ‘appropriate that the Australian team was wearing yellow’. 1 As a result of this incident, underarm bowling in limited-overs cricket was banned by the International Cricket Council.
World Series Cricket
In 1979 an Australian entrepreneur, Kerry Packer, revitalised cricket by devising a new commercial, one-day game for television. World Series Cricket featured coloured clothing rather than traditional cricket whites, along with night games under lights, white balls, black sight screens, and numerous television cameras. Advertising dollars poured in and television ratings for cricket games soared. Cricket players began to earn large sums.
World Series Cricket had a strong and rapid influence on all ODI cricket, and many of its features were adopted as standard.
The first time New Zealand played in coloured clothing was in Australia during the 1980–81 season. They wore a beige uniform with dark brown trimmings. The game was beamed by satellite into New Zealand living rooms. Public interest rose and in February 1982, 43,000 spectators attended an ODI between New Zealand and Australia at Eden Park, Auckland.
In February 1996 the first New Zealand night-time ODI, played under floodlights, took place at McLean Park, Napier. Since then most international games in New Zealand have been at night.
The ICC World Cup
The premier men’s ODI tournament is the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup. The first tournament was played in England in 1975, and New Zealand reached the semi-final. The matches consisted of 60 overs a side, but in later World Cup tournaments the number of overs was reduced to 50.
By 2019 New Zealand had competed in all 12 ICC cricket world cups and reached the semi-finals on eight occasions. In 2015 and 2019 the Black Caps went one better by reaching the final. In 2019 they tied with England over 50 overs and then in a single 'Super Over' intended to find a winner, with England declared champions because they had scored more boundaries.
The 1992 tournament was jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand created a World Cup record by winning their first seven games, before losing to Pakistan in a semi-final. The highlight was the unorthodox captaincy and exceptional batting of Martin Crowe. He scored 456 runs at an average of 114.00 with a strike rate of 90.66 and was named Player of the World Cup.
In October 2000 New Zealand won its first ODI tournament – the ICC Knockout in Kenya. The Black Caps won the final against India with two balls to spare. Chris Cairns scored 102 not out.
New Zealand’s record
New Zealand has proved a capable one-day cricket side. From 1973 to February 2016 New Zealand won 311 games against international opponents and lost 348. Excluding games against Australia, New Zealand has won more than it has lost, and its record against England is 41–36.
When Australia and New Zealand played the world’s first Twenty20 International at Eden Park on 17 February, 2005, the players dressed in the one-day uniforms of the 1980s. The New Zealanders dressed up as the ‘beige brigade’ and many had moustaches and long hair in the look of the period. Glenn McGrath pretended to bowl underarm in reference to the notorious incident in 1981.
For some years people had been trialling forms of cricket that would offer even faster-paced games that were exciting to a younger generation. In 2003 a 20-overs-per-side, inter-county competition was inaugurated in England – Twenty20 cricket. A game lasts less than three hours.
In February 2005 New Zealand and Australia played the first Twenty20 International at Eden Park. Since then the game has spread rapidly and become a feature of most international tours.
By April 2016 New Zealand had completed 91 Twenty20 games, winning 48 and losing 43.