With summer officially over – March 1 marked the start of autumn – there are still more matches scheduled on New Zealand soil, so cricket fever is not over yet.

On Saturday (21 March),Wellington hosts a quarterfinal followed by another in Auckland on Tuesday (24 March).

In New Zealand, the cricket tournament – which is being jointly hosted with Australia – has played out in seven host centres across both islands from the four big cities of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin to the regional centres of Nelson, Napier and Hamilton.

Officials say that in the days when India, England and South Africa came to town, local ex-pat supporters showed up en masse to encourage their home teams.

Even week-day matches pulled in big crowds and stadia, large and small, have experienced capacity crowds. In Wellington, Wellington Regional Stadium welcomed its eight millionth spectator through the turn-styles for the Sri Lanka v England CWC match (1 March) – making it New Zealand’s busiest stadium.

Trans-Tasman rivalry sold-out Eden Park for the New Zealand – Australia game on 28 February, and Auckland experienced its biggest weekend since 2011 and the Rugby World Cup. With 42,000 people inside the stadium, the city was also heaving with the arrival of the Volvo Ocean Race and the Chinese Lantern Festival celebrating Chinese New Year.

Fan zones

More than the big cities, it is the regions that have stood out for their enthusiastic reception of the visiting sportsmen and emphatic embrace of the sporting spectacle. 

Napier turned on an incredible reception for Afghanistan – a mayoral welcome, a Maori powhiri welcome and a big contingent of local Afghanis to cheer them on that included former interpreters who had worked with New Zealand’s defence forces in Afghanistan.