By Niall Anderson in Birmingham
It's still early, but England's victory over the West Indies at the Cricket World Cup has given the Black Caps' semifinal chances a boost.
An excellent bowling display and a century to Joe Root saw England claim a dominant eight-wicket win, which vaults them into second on the ladder, with three wins from four games, sitting one point behind the Black Caps.
With England, Australia and India all expected to make the semifinals with relative ease, victories to those sides over the other contenders for the semifinals has significant benefits for New Zealand.
With seven points from four games, the Black Caps are the current frontrunners to be that fourth semifinalist – if you believe the big three will ease into the semifinals - with the West Indies currently their closest challenger.
However, their defeat this morning has seen their chances diminish, and New Zealand's increase.
Going into the game, the Black Caps were at $1.40 to make the semifinals, and the West Indies close behind at $2.20. Now, after the West Indies were well beaten by England, the Black Caps have moved into $1.33, and the West Indies out to $3. Pakistan remain at $5.50 to make the final four, with South Africa at $12.
The dominant nature of England's victory would also be part of the reason why faith in the West Indies has dipped. The West Indies' usual short-ball barrage didn't prove to be a profitable tactic, even despite England being without influential batsmen Jason Roy and Eoin Morgan, and using all-rounder Chris Woakes at No 3.
Similarly, their explosive batting lineup didn't fire, and one of their pivotal players, Andre Russell, continues to struggle with a knee injury, leaving the West Indies four points (two wins) behind New Zealand already.
West Indies captain Jason Holder isn't getting too pessimistic over his side's current position, however.
"I think it would be very foolish not to be confident. There's still a lot of cricket to be played in this tournament. We have only played four games. A hell of a lot of cricket left to be played."
That includes a game against Bangladesh on Monday, while Sunday's clash between India and Pakistan will also have a significant impact on the semifinal race, before New Zealand are back in action on Wednesday against South Africa.
England's overall tournament chances also received a scare with Roy and Morgan's injuries.
Roy went off the field with a tight hamstring which he will receive scans on tomorrow, while Morgan also had to leave the field during the first innings, suffering from back spasms that left him unable to sit down in the post-match press conference.
Odds to make the semifinals
New Zealand $1.33
West Indies $3.00
South Africa $12
Sri Lanka $21
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