Cricket World Cup 2019: Blackcaps coach Gary Stead has India in sights after encouraging start

Blackcaps coach Gary Stead is encouraged by his side's unbeaten start to the Cricket World Cup, but he knows they must lift their game with India next.

New Zealand and India are the only two unbeaten nations left in the tournament, and they go head-to-head at Trent Bridge on Thursday night.

The Blackcaps sit higher than India in the standings, as they've had three wins (Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan), while India have had two (South Africa and Australia).

Speaking to The AM Show, Stead said he was impressed with what he'd seen from India so far.

"They're looking good and they beat Australia today," he said. "It will be our biggest challenge to date.

"Every team in the tournament is capable of beating anyone else. We have to be somewhere near our best, but if they take us lightly and we have a great day, there is no reason why we can't win.

"I expect every team will get beaten at some stage, and I hope we have the capabilities we can tip up the Australians and Indians, and I'm sure we can.

"I'm confident in our side. They're playing well and I'm impressed with how they're taking it one game at a time."

Compared to other nations, the Blackcaps have had a relatively easy schedule, but that hasn't worried Stead at all.

He was trying to look at positives in the results, which included bowling first and chasing down the targets, which the Blackcaps have struggled with over the years.

"Those three games were ones that were potential banana skins. We played all three, we weren't affected by weather and it's nice to be sitting atop the table.

"We felt Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan weren't the best teams in terms of setting targets, and all the numbers in English conditions led us to bowl first.

"But if we had to bat first, it is probably the preferred method of ours. When you look back over the last three or four years, chasing has been more difficult and that has been the pleasing thing about the three games - we chased them all.

"The one against Bangladesh was tighter than it should have been, but pleasing to get over the line and be put under pressure."

Stead hopes to have paceman Tim Southee available for the match, as he continues to recover from a calf injury. That would give the Blackcaps boss a full squad of 15 players to choose from going forward.

Stead has used the same Blackcaps line-up for the opening three games of the tournament.


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