Cricket World Cup: India fear New Zealand heading into World Cup semi-final, says ex-Blackcaps veteran Scott Styris

Former Blackcaps allrounder Scott Styris believes there will be a distinct element of fear within the India camp heading into Wednesday's World Cup semi-final against New Zealand.

The spectre of their semi-final loss to the Kiwis in rain-affected match played over two days at Manchester has been a dark cloud over the cricket-mad country for the past four years.

They'll have the opportunity to avenge that defeat at Mumbai, but Styris - who represented the Blackcaps at three World Cups - believes that weight of history will have the Indians extra weary and perhaps ripe for another upset.

Scott Styris in action against India in 2007.
Scott Styris in action against India in 2007. Photo credit: Getty Images

"I think India are actually a little fearful of New Zealand," Styris told AM. "We're the one side who has had some success over the last few tournaments.  

"They talk a lot in India about NZ beating them in the semi-final at the last World Cup, so they know that this NZ side is capable of getting across the line.

"There is a pretty set gameplan too. India are really strong at the top of their batting, so if you can get rid of that top order, which is easier said than done, then things change drastically.

"They're a very good side. They would beat us 7-8 times out of 10 in India, because they know those conditions, so it will be tough, but our guys are good enough.

"They’ve shown that at this tournament and I think we are a chance of an upset." 

A veteran of 188 one-day internationals, Styris has had a unique insight into the Indian cricketing psyche in recent years, spending extensive time as an Indian Premier League commentator, as well as a player in the Twenty20 league and a tourist with the Blackcaps.

Much of the narrative heading into their knockout clash against the Kiwis has centred around the burden of expectation on the hosts' shoulders, after winning all nine of their group games to put them on course to snap a decade-long ICC trophy drought and lift the World Cup for the third time.

Styris plays down any potential impact of pressure on Wednesday's outcome, noting it's simply par for the course for the Indians.

"We know what it's like with the All Blacks here in New Zealand," he explained. "India cricket is way above that to the local people there. 

"They openly admit that - just like the All Blacks - they're under pressure every time they play, so I don't think they'll feel too much more pressure than they normally do, because of the fact they're so used to it and they've been playing good cricket, so they'll be confident."

Styris points to the Blackcaps' "sensational" top order with the bat, where he says Rachin Ravindra has emerged as the order's "bedrock".

On the highscoring pitch at Wankhede Stadium, he adds New Zealand will need all of that firepower and more to silence a raucous full house of 33,000 partisan fans.

"It's a very small ground and a very good batting pitch, we're going to need a lot of runs. 

"It will be a real challenge, but they’ve probably got the best conditions that are similar to what they're sued to in Mumbai, so that'll be one positive they can take out of it."

The winners will advance to the final to face whomever emerge from the second semi-final between Australia and South Africa on Thursday.

Join Newshub at 9:30pm Wednesday for live updates of the Blackcaps v India World Cup semi