Cricket World Cup: Altered pitch not to blame for Blackcaps' semi-final loss to India - NZ great Chris Harris

A late change of pitch is not to blame for New Zealand's semi-final exit from the Cricket World Cup, says former Blackcaps all-rounder Chris Harris, as India sealed a 70-run victory on Thursday (NZ time).

In the build-up to the first of the World Cup semi-finals, it was reported the Board of Control for Cricket in India had decided to change the pitch from a fresh wicket to a used one.

While the venue and ground remained the same, a used wicket would swing conditions firmly towards India, provided additional assistance to spinners Kuldeep Yadav, and Ravindra Jadeja.

But after India won the toss and opted to bat first, conditions appeared to be more batter-friendly than initially feared.

Daryl Mitchell scored a century in New Zealand's loss.
Daryl Mitchell scored a century in New Zealand's loss. Photo credit: Getty Images

In 50 overs, India made a massive 397/4 batting first, with only Mitchell Santner going for less than a run a ball among the Kiwi spinners.

Across both sides, three batters scored centuries, with Virat Kohli (117), Shreyas Iyer (105) and Daryl Mitchell (134) passed three figures. 

And as New Zealand replied with 327 all out, India's spinners Ravindra Jadeja (0/63) and Kuldeep Yadav (1/56) didn't have the impact that would have been possible had the pitch been doctored in their favour.

Appearing on AM, Harris outlined that while the pitch might have been changed to a previously used surface, conditions had not been swung in favour of the hosts.

"Not really," said Harris of India's advantage. "You'd have to consider the chance that India could have lost the toss, that would have played into New Zealand hands.

"I think the wicket was changed, they used a used surface. But some would argue that part of the reason for doing that was to make sure they got a reasonable surface.

"I don't think it advantaged them too much. Certainly, winning the toss and batting first was the biggest advantage they got."

Losing by 70 runs, the Blackcaps exit the tournament as semi-finalists again, having now reached the last four in the past five editions of the World Cup.

As cricket continues to swing more towards the supposed "big three" nations of India, England and Australia, the Blackcaps continue to punch above their weight.

New Zealand were tipped to miss the semi-finals altogether, with England and Pakistan – who finished seventh and fifth respectively – backed to beat the Blackcaps into the last four.

And despite the hurt of falling at the penultimate hurdle, Harris says Kiwis should still be thrilled with what the Blackcaps have achieved at this year's tournament.

"I think we should be very proud of what the Blackcaps have done," he said. "But India on the day were just too good.

"They got the best of the conditions. They batted first in batter friendly conditions, unfortunately for New Zealand.

"[It was] a brilliant effort to chase on a wicket that was slowing. Daryl Mitchell has had a fantastic tournament and showed his form again.

"[It's] a sad day, but I think we should be very proud. This World Cup looks like it's India's for the taking."

Australia and South Africa will meet on Thursday night (NZ time), with the winner to face India in the World Cup final.