Cricket-New Zealand’s Boult excited by prospect of facing India in World Cup semis

By Shrivathsa Sridhar

BENGALURU (Reuters) – New Zealand will relish a semi-final clash with India after they thumped 1996 champions Sri Lanka by five wickets to put one foot in the knockout stage of the World Cup, seamer Trent Boult said on Thursday.

Boult bagged 3-37 to help restrict Sri Lanka to 171 before New Zealand made short work of the chase to snap a run of four straight defeats, finishing their pool stage campaign with 10 points from nine games.

Barring a miracle when Afghanistan face already-qualified South Africa on Friday and Pakistan take on outgoing champions England on Saturday, New Zealand should progress to the last four and meet unbeaten India in Mumbai on Nov. 15.

“I can’t speak on what they’re thinking but from our point of view to play the World Cup in India and come up against the hosts, a team that’s red hot playing good cricket at a great ground – you couldn’t script it any better,” Boult said.

“Excited if that happens, I feel like we’ve done all we can from our point of view and we’ll wait and see what happens.”

India lost to New Zealand in the 2019 semi-final but beat them earlier in this edition in Dharamsala and Boult said he was not sure how the conditions would be at the Wankhede Stadium.

“But history suggests it’s a good wicket,” Boult said. “Nice to have come up against them in Dharamsala. Different ground and different facilities but we’ll turn our focus to that challenge.

“Very good players, but pressure does things to the best of players at any time. So look forward to taking that on.

“It still has to be ticked off but yeah, I think there’ll be a lot of excitement… Doesn’t get any bigger than taking on India in front of 1.5 billion people. It’s very exciting.”

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)