On Thursday, New Zealand all but booked a spot in the semi-finals of the 2023 World Cup, as they defeated Sri Lanka by five wickets in Bengaluru. The Kiwis have the advantage of a higher Net Run Rate (NRR), and the biggest threat to their semi-final spot – Pakistan – require a win by at least 287 runs to displace them at the fourth spot in the points table. As things stand, New Zealand will face the high-flying India in the semis of the World Cup, who are yet to concede a defeat in the tournament.
Rohit Sharma’s men are enjoying an incredible run in the tournament, and assured a top spot in the points table after a sensational 243-run win over South Africa last Sunday. India had defeated the Kiwis by four wickets, chasing down a 274-run target with two overs to spare, and will aim for a similarly successful outing if they meet New Zealand again next week.
However, former England pacer Steve Harmison believes that New Zealand isn’t the team India “would want to face” in the semis. Harmison stated that the Kiwis are coming back into form and fitness and look threatening from the offing.
“A quality side like New Zealand, you can never write them off. Out of the three teams that are in the semi-finals with India, I’ve got a funny feeling that they are the one team that India wouldn’t want to play because they have character. They are all coming back to fitness,” Harmison told ESPNCricinfo.
“I wouldn’t say they are all in prime form. But on the big stage, India and New Zealand have been here before. All the pressure is now on India. Indian cricketers are used to playing under pressure so I don’t think that will harm them too much. If India had one side they didn’t want to play in the semi-final, it would be New Zealand,” Harmison added.
If India face the Kiwis in the semi-final, it would be a repeat of the 2019 knock-out where the Kane Williamson-led side had registered a narrow 21-run win.