By Niall Anderson in Chester-le-Street
The Black Caps are going to have to wait at least another three days to confirm their place in the Cricket World Cup semifinals.
A semifinal spot could have been locked in today, but the Black Caps were denied by England's 31-run victory over India.
An Indian victory would have meant that England would have been unable to pass New Zealand on the ladder, but after an impressive English display, they now sit just one point in arrears, ahead of the two sides' final group game in Durham on Wednesday night (NZT).
Whichever team wins that clash will then lock in their semifinal spot, while the other will have to wait until Friday, when Pakistan play Bangladesh, in order to learn whether they will advance to the final four.
Had India won this morning, the Black Caps would have been secure in making the semifinals, as they would have been sitting in third place on the World Cup ladder, with only one team mathematically able to surpass them.
While they still sit in third, there are now two teams who can move past them – England, if they beat New Zealand on Wednesday – and either Pakistan (if they beat Bangladesh) or Bangladesh (if they beat India and Pakistan).
Due to playing each other in their final showdown, only one of Bangladesh or Pakistan can draw level with New Zealand. And, with both teams significantly behind on net run rate, it would take a hefty Black Caps defeat to England, coupled with either a lopsided Pakistan victory or two emphatic Bangladesh wins, to boot the Black Caps out of the semifinals.
Black Caps batting coach Craig McMillan is still comfortable where his side is placed going into the final throes of the World Cup group stage.
"We're still in charge of our destination and where we're heading, and that's always a nice thing to have. When you get to a point in the tournament where you're not in control of it, that's where you have to worry."
Taking that viewpoint, the Black Caps don't have to worry for now, but lose to England, and a lot of nervous New Zealand eyes might gaze towards Lord's on the 5th of July to ensure that Pakistan or Bangladesh don't pull off a miracle.
The Alternative Commentary Collective are podcasting their way through the World Cup. Known for their unconventional sports analysis and off-kilter banter, the ACC have come to ask the tough questions. Here's the latest episode of 'The Agenda':
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT