The New Zealand cricket team, also known as the Black Caps or BLACKCAPS, played their first Test in 1929–30 against England in Christchurch, New Zealand, becoming the fifth Test nation. It took the team until 1955–56 to win a Test, against the West Indies at Eden Park in Auckland. They played their first ODI in the 1972–73 season against Pakistan in Christchurch. The national team is organized by New Zealand Cricket.
New Zealand played its first two internationals (not Tests) in 1904–05 against a star-studded Australia team. Rain saved NZ from a thrashing in the first match but not the second which NZ lost by an innings and 358 runs – currently the second largest defeat in NZ first-class cricket. In 1929/30 the M.C.C toured NZ and played 4 Tests all of 3 days in duration. NZ lost its first Test match but drew the next 3. In the second Test Stewie Dempster and Jackie Mills put on 276 for the first wicket. This is still the highest partnership against England. NZ lacked a class bowler to lead their attack although they had 2 excellent batsmen in Glenn Turner and Bert Sutcliffe and a great all-rounder in John R. Reid.
In 1973 Richard Hadlee debuted and the rate at which NZ won Tests picked up dramatically. Hadlee was one of the best pace bowlers of his generation and played 86 Tests for NZ. Of the 86 Tests that Hadlee played in New Zealand won 22 and lost 28. In 1977/78 NZ won its first Test against England, at the 48th attempt. Hadlee took 10 wickets in the match.
The match that epitomized the phenomenon of NZ’s two star players (R. Hadlee and M. Crowe) putting in match winning performances and other players making good contributions was NZ v Australia, 1985 at Brisbane. In Australia's first innings Hadlee took 9-52. In NZ's only turn at bat, Martin Crowe scored 188 and John F. Reid 108. Edgar, Wright, Coney, Jeff Crowe, V. Brown, and Hadlee scored between 17 and 54*. In Australia’s second innings, Hadlee took 6-71 and Chatfield 3-75. NZ won by an innings and 41 runs. Bowler Lance Cairns became a cult hero for his one-day batting and is best remembered by 1980s fans for his six sixes at the MCG.
The current Test, One Day & Twenty20 captain is Daniel Vettori. He replaced the Black Caps' most successful captain, Stephen Fleming, who led New Zealand to 28 Test victories, more than twice as many as any other captain. Vettori lost his first match as captain (vs. South Africa) by 358 runs, New Zealand's worst ever defeat by runs.
The New Zealand cricket team became known as the Black Caps in January 1998, after its sponsor at the time, Clear Communications, held a competition to choose a name for the team.
As of April 2009, the New Zealand team has played 351 Test matches, winning 18.80%, losing 39.88% and drawing 41.31% of its games.