Revenge for the Cricket World Cup semifinal is not on the mind of Indian captain Virat Kohli as he prepares to take on the Black Caps for the first time since his side's stunning defeat in Manchester.

In fact, Kohli even claims that the mere concept of retribution is impossible to generate from the famous 18-run defeat, arguing that the Indian team simply couldn't hold a grudge against a team that they get along well with, and have a healthy respect for.

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"Honestly, even if you want to think of revenge, these guys are so nice that you can't get into that," Kohli laughed at Eden Park, where the two teams will meet in their tour-opening Twenty20 tonight.

"We were actually happy for them when they qualified for the finals, because when you've lost you have to look at the larger picture and it meant a lot to them."

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Kohli is expecting the tour – which includes five Twenty20s, three ODIs and two tests – to be played in excellent spirit, heaping praise on his opposition for the way that they conduct themselves on and off the field.

"We get along really well with all these guys. They're probably one side that has set the right example for teams to play at the international level and how they should carry themselves. They obviously want to bring the best that they can every ball of the game, and they're intense, but they're not nasty, they're not doing things which are not acceptable on the field. They've very respectful of that fact and you can tell by the way they play – they're a quality side and we really have a lot of respect for them and vice versa as well, I think they have a lot of respect for us.

"I don't think this is about any kind of revenge at all, it's just about two quality sides playing good cricket, it's a challenge to beat New Zealand here and something we are totally up for."

Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson at the end of the World Cup semifinal. Photo / Photosport
Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson at the end of the World Cup semifinal. Photo / Photosport

When questioned whether that challenge had been lessened after the Black Caps' 3-0 test series thrashing in Australia, Kohli argued that a return to home conditions will make New Zealand more of a threat.

"In their conditions they've always been very strong, and you know what they bring to the table when playing in New Zealand, so we're not going to take that for granted. They know their conditions well, they understand the angles of the fields and how the pitches play, so I think they will have a slight home advantage, but having said that we have played here a lot and the last time we came here we won both the series that we played, so from that point of view, we're going to take that confidence into the series.

"We're not relating anything to the fact that Australia beat them and we beat Australia, that's irrelevant honestly. Every series is a fresh start, and [playing] New Zealand in New Zealand is obviously a tougher challenge than playing them back home in India. We definitely have to be at our best."

Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson will face off in all three formats in New Zealand, starting with the Twenty20 series. Photo / Photosport
Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson will face off in all three formats in New Zealand, starting with the Twenty20 series. Photo / Photosport

Kohli also spoke about the significant changes coming from a series against Australia in India, to spending six weeks in New Zealand, and while noting the challenges with travel, he also had a keen observation about the differences in mentality and pressure when touring New Zealand.

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"It's much more relaxed. Every tour is a representation of how people look at the game in that region. And in New Zealand it's not something that's larger than life or the most important thing in life, I think it's part of the Kiwi culture and they just treat it as a sport. They play really hard and they want to win the game but at the end of the day they're not dejected or depressed if they don't win.

"We really enjoy coming here – do our best on the field and carry on with life off it. Kiwis are the most chilled out and relaxed but at the same time very professional about what they do.

"I think it's a wonderful balance and something that every team that comes to New Zealand loves."