Tim Southee
Tim Southee

New Zealand pacer Tim Southee termed India ‘a quality side’ and predicted ‘a great contest’ between the two sides in what could well turn out to be a virtual quarterfinal in T20 World Cup 2021 Super 12, Group 2.

Tim Southee Backs India

India and New Zealand are coming off defeats to Pakistan in their opening matches and after the Babar Azam-led side’s victory against Afghanistan, it is more or less certain only one among New Zealand, India and Afghanistan can make it to the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 semi-final from Group 2.

“They (India) are a quality side. They have shown that for many years and for them as well coming off a loss, they will be eager to win as well. So, it should be a great contest against two very good sides,” Southee said after a practice session on Friday.

India T20 World Cup Squad 2021
Virat Kohli with Team India

Southee played his part but he was hit for few runs in the crucial over towards the end by Asif Ali in the game against Pakistan. The experienced right-arm seamer however said, the focus is now on the match against India.

“It’s always tight in the first game. We went far off against a quality Pakistan side but we need to look forward in such a short tournament. There are no easy games so it’s now about focus shifting towards India.”

Southee, who claimed his 100th T20 wicket in the loss against Pakistan, said adapting to the conditions and wickets is the need of the hour. New Zealand will be playing at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium for the first time during the competition, while India lost at the same ground in their opener.

“We knew coming here is different to how we play in New Zealand. So, you have to adapt to those conditions, you also have to adapt to all three grounds as well”.

“They offer different assistance for the seamers. We saw in Sharjah slower balls and back of the length worked. In Dubai, the wicket has little more pace in it and seems to be a better wicket,” he observed.

Asked about his 100 T20 wicket milestone, Southee said: “It’s nice when you play for a while and get a milestone. Not many people have done it so far with T20 not being around for too long.

“Not only T20, but all three formats. It’s a challenge to juggle all three formats and to be able to do that for a long period of time is pretty satisfying,” he said.

“Looking at ways to keep improving your game, adapt to different conditions, different formats is something I have looked to do over the years. Hopefully, there are many more years to come,” he added.

Virat Kohli‘s India and Kane Williamson‘s New Zealand will face each other on Sunday in Dubai.