New Zealand head coach Gary Stead has said that his team’s first goal is to reach the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup 2021 in the UAE and Oman. He added that Kiwis have tough opponents to face in their group and there are 6-7 teams who can win the showpiece event which is good for world cricket.
New Zealand are placed in Group 2 with India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, with two more teams to join them from the pre-qualifications round. New Zealand won the inaugural ICC World Test Championship final against India in June, and they have a rare chance to create history by winning two ICC trophies in one year.
Gary Stead, the Blackcaps head coach, said that the team will not be distracted by the prospect and will focus on one game at a time.
"Every tournament you go in, you go in with high hopes, hope to win games and put yourself in a position to achieve that. I guess our first one is focusing on one game at a time, but the main goal is to get to that semi-finals stage and if you're there, you'll know that you're only two wins away from a title. We're in a tough pool, I genuinely think there are six-seven teams that could win this tournament, and I guess that's good for world cricket as well," Stead said during a virtual media interaction after arriving in the UAE.
The 49-year old reflected on the conditions in the UAE, and based on his oberseavtions from the ongoing second leg of IPL 2021, he feels there's enough to ponder abput the varied surfaces on offer.
"I've watched a fair bit of the IPL," he said. "It looks like there are three different surfaces and even as the tournament progresses, there seems to be the odd bit of rogue score - a very high-scoring game in Abu Dhabi, where 190 got chased down but the norm has been anywhere between 120 through to 150 mark. With the three grounds, I guess, they will provide different options and opportunities that we need to consider as well. We will certainly be calling on the expertise of and knowledge of those guys that have been playing in the IPL - what they can add to our intel as well."
New Zealand will start their campaign against Pakistan in a Group 2 Super 12 fixture in Sharjah on October 26. It is believed that there will be some tension around the fixture, after the Kiwis had abandoned their tour of Pakistan last month.
Stead, however, downplayed the chat around the match and said that whatever happened was sad for Pakistan cricket.
"I'm not sure if there's any more tension on it from our perspective," Stead said. "Obviously, what happened in Pakistan was sad for Pakistan cricket, their players and also our players who missed out on that opportunity as well. We can't change what has happened there; all we can do is, I guess, prepare for the tournament, and we face Pakistan first up. I'm sure it will be an exciting game. We've always had good games with Pakistan cricket and this one will be no different."