Cricket World Cup: Blackcaps' destiny still in their hands, as injuries mount before must-win match against Pakistan

New Zealand are taking their latest Cricket World Cup setback with a stiff upper lip, as their semi-final hopes teeter with their third straight defeat in India.

Asked to bat first, South Africans Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen struck centuries, as the Proteas put on 357 runs in their 50 overs, before dismissing the Blackcaps for 167 in just 36 overs.

The size of the defeat severely dents New Zealand's net run rate, which would come into play if they end up tied with other teams for a top-four position, but budding allrounder Glenn Phillips insists his team still have control of their own destiny, with two group matches to come.

Jimmy Neesham agonises over a dropped catch against South Africa.
Jimmy Neesham agonises over a dropped catch against South Africa. Photo credit: Photosport

Their next outing is against Pakistan, who sit fifth on the competition table, but would draw even with victory, before the Kiwis wind up their schedule against qualifiers Sri Lanka.

"We're just two wins away and that hopefully puts us in third or fourth place, potentially even second," said Phillips, who led the Blackcaps' scoring with 60 runs off 50 balls.

"If we can just stick to our basics, what we do best in the field, everything will be alright."

Usually one of the slickest fielding outfits in world cricket, even that aspect let New Zealand down against South Africa, with de Kock in particular enjoying his luck.

Perhaps their biggest challenge may be finding 11 fit bodies to face Pakistan, with bowler Matt Henry limping off with a hamstring strain.

Veteran bowler Tim Southee has only just returned from a broken thumb, while captain Kane Williamson suffered a similar injury in his only appearance at this tournament and is expected back for the next fixture.

Lockie Ferguson and Mark Chapman sat out against the Proteas with injury, while allrounder Jimmy Neesham was struck on the wrist by the ball, but appears to have escaped serious harm.

"Every team is combating injuries at the moment, but we'll see what the scans and the x-rays show, and we'll go from there," said Phillips.

The injury toll has raised questions where 15-man squads are sufficient to cover all contingencies.

"I think a squad of 15 is perfect," insisted Phillips. "We're close enough to anywhere in the world to fly someone in at any stage, if you really absolutely need to.

"You've got 15 players in a squad for a reason and if someone goes down, you try to cover your bases. Obviously, with rules and regulations, being able to bring someone in if there's an injury concern... the format is good as is."

Batter/wicketkeeper Tom Blundell is already on standby for Williamson.

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