History Made by “Best Side Ever”
31 March 2004 – The NZ Black Caps have leaped from 8th place to 3rd in world one-day cricket rankings thanks to their first ever series win over South Africa. “It feels great,” said captain Stephen Fleming of the 5-1 victory. “It’s a wonderful day to create history and we’ve done it pretty well.” Records continued to fall in the ensuing Test series, in which NZ achieved its highest ever score against South Africa (584-8), Scott Styris posted the best score by a NZ batter against South Africa (170), and Chris Cairns made an astonishing 100 runs in one session, racing from 53 to 158 between tea and stumps. Former NZ wicket-keeper, Ian Smith, called the side the “best ever” – high praise indeed coming from a member of NZ’s 1980s super-team. Despite the Black Caps’ top form, the Test series eventually ended in a draw.