Former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori believes the Black Caps can cause a World Cup semi-final upset against India if they can shake off their recent struggles with a fast start at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
New Zealand have limped into the semi-finals on the back of three successive defeats, leading many pundits to make group winners India firm favourites to advance to the final.
The Black Caps finished fourth in the group and only made the semi-finals on net run-rate having finished level on points with Pakistan.
But Vettori, who played the last of his 295 ODIs against Australia in the 2015 final, insists that poor run will count for nothing if Kane Williamson’s side get off to a flier against the Indians.
“New Zealand arrive in the semi-finals as the outsiders, but make no mistake about it, they will still have high hopes,” Vettori said in his ICC Media column.
“When you get on a bad run as a team, you have to return to the individual. If one man can find a performance, then that can permeate its way through to the whole team very quickly and build confidence, often within a game.
“A three-match losing streak can evaporate pretty quickly with a great ten overs at the start.
“Just look at South Africa against Australia this past weekend. The Proteas have been in all sorts of strife this World Cup but the way they started that game gave them huge confidence to go on and get over the line.
“That is why the start of the semi-final between India and New Zealand is going to be so important.
“If New Zealand get off to a great start, with bat or ball, the streak will soon be forgotten.”
Vettori urged New Zealand to copy the aggressive approach shown by England when they scored 337-7 to beat India earlier in the tournament.
New Zealand have yet to score 300 in this edition of the World Cup, but Vettori remains hopeful they will click into top gear despite a 119-run thrashing by England in their last game.
“England against India at Edgbaston probably showed New Zealand the way to approach setting a big total,” he said.
“Jasprit Bumrah is basically unplayable at this stage, and against England he was his usual economical self.
“But despite that, England targeted everyone else. They were aggressive from the off against the spinners, against Hardik Pandya and they even got to Mohammed Shami at the death as well.
“New Zealand have got all the ingredients in place to put on a big total. I know they haven’t done it yet.
“But let’s be optimistic and look at it like this: Kane Williamson always scores runs, and you more often than not you can say the same about Ross Taylor.”