Over the years, India and New Zealand have encountered each other in key matches of ICC tournaments. India has shared a healthy competition and great sporting camaraderie with the Kiwis. Even in losses, the mutual respect for each other has continued. To this day, Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson, both modern-day legends, share an extremely cordial and respectful relationship. The countries play with the utmost professionalism and the contests end up being very exciting.
Lately, it seems that New Zealand has gotten the better of India in ICC tournaments. The heartbreak in the 2019 World Cup is still etched in the hearts and minds of all cricket lovers. The long throw-in from Guptill to dislodge the bails and run Dhoni out left the entire nation shell-shocked. Prior to that, both nations met at Nagpur in the group stages of the 2016 ICC T20 World Cup. Even there, the spinning duo of Sodhi and Santner got the better of Indian batters. India was all out for 79 while chasing the meager 126 sets up by the Kiwis.
The trend of New Zealand coming out trumps over India was even more rampant in the 1980s and 90s. In the 1992 ODI World Cup, New Zealand comfortably chased down 230 sets up by India with Mark Greatbatch playing a blinder and scoring 73 of 77 balls. Subsequently in the 1999 World Cup, India won the toss and chose to bat with Ajay Jadeja notching a half-century to help India get to 251. However, New Zealand chased this down without breaking much sweat.
In the last 18 years, India has beaten New Zealand only once. It was in the 2003 World Cup under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly. The match was held in the Centurion stadium. New Zealand had batted first and was skittled off for a paltry 146. Zaheer Khan ran riot through the Kiwi batting lineup and picked up a 4fer. He was ably supported by Bhajji, Nehra, and the other bowlers. The Indians comfortably chased this total down with Mohammad Kaif and Rahul Dravid both notching their respective half-centuries.
Before the June 18, 2021 encounter between these two teams for the WTC finals in Southampton, India can look back at the 2003 World Cup match and draw some inspiration. Hopefully, the WTC finals shall be the beginning of a change of fortunes for the Indian team against New Zealand.