By Niall Anderson at Lord's
Their heavy defeat at the hands of Australia may have dented their overall Cricket World Cup prospects, but the Black Caps still have a simple path to the World Cup semifinals.
In fact, they could have a semifinal spot locked up as soon as tomorrow morning.
If India beat England at Edgbaston on Monday morning (NZT), New Zealand's semifinal spot will be secure – as they would be sitting in third place on the World Cup ladder, with only one team mathematically able to surpass them.
An England loss tomorrow would keep the hosts on eight points, three behind New Zealand, with the two sides meeting in their final game on Wednesday. It would leave either Pakistan (if they beat Bangladesh) or Bangladesh (if they beat India and Pakistan) as the only sides who could equal New Zealand's tally of 11 points – with only one of that duo being able to reach 11, due to playing each other in their final showdown.
An Indian victory over England would also likely ensure at least a top-three spot for the Black Caps, with Pakistan and Bangladesh still significantly behind New Zealand on net run rate. While one of the two can draw level on points with New Zealand, they'd be unlikely to be able to move past them, due to that inferior net run rate.
While the 86-run defeat this morning dented the Black Caps' net run rate, Black Caps captain Kane Williamson said it wasn't a major concern.
"That's one of those outcome things. When the game was slipping away, we did want to build a partnership, and take the game to a position where we could fire a few shots, which obviously would have helped [the net run rate]. But we saw it as a chance to perhaps have the opportunity to get over the line."
Although two straight defeats may have reduced the optimism surrounding the Black Caps' campaign, even if England win their final two games to jump ahead of New Zealand, it would still require a remarkable turnaround from either Pakistan or Bangladesh to boot the Black Caps out of the semifinals.
Australia's victory today also means New Zealand can no longer finish top of the table, with Australia and India the only two sides that can seal top spot.
So, a trip to Birmingham for a World Cup semifinal at Edgbaston on July 11? That's the most likely scenario right now – but Black Caps fans may want to cheer for India tomorrow to remove any doubt of an earlier exit.