The Young Black Caps are feeling good about themselves as they prepare to face India in tomorrow's ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup at Townsville.
Their thrilling final-ball victory over West Indies in the weekend's quarterfinals has set them up for a showdown with a team they've already played - and beaten - once this year.
New Zealand toppled their rivals by six wickets during a four-team tournament that also featured Australia and England in April.
"The victory over the West Indies has given the team a lot of belief ahead of the semifinal," says captain Will Young. "The whole group is excited by what lies in front of us.
"India is a strong side and it will be a tough match, but at the same time, we feel confident that if we play to our potential, we can beat them."
New Zealand's path to the semis included victories over Scotland and Afghanistan, before a solitary loss to Pakistan in their final group match. They then beat the Windies by three wickets to reach the tournament's penultimate stage.
India began their campaign with a loss to the West Indies, but advanced to the knock-out phase after wins over Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea. They then beat rivals Pakistan in their quarterfinal by one wicket.
"We're happy to have made it to this stage, but we're definitely not satisfied yet," says Young. "We know there's a lot at stake and we've just got to focus on one game at a time."
New Zealand will be without batting all-rounder Henry Walsh for the game, after the Wellington-based player suffered an ankle injury and returned home yesterday. Northern District's batsman Ben Hyde has joined the team as his replacement.
The match, which begins at 11.3am (NZT), will be played at Tony Ireland Stadium, with the winning team going on to face Australia in the final on Sunday.