Kane Williamson, who is wary of India’s strength in a stadium packed with fans, is confident that New Zealand is capable of causing an upset as they did last week during the semifinals.
New Zealand has always been a thorn to India Cricket Team’s ICC Trophy ambitions. India lost the 2019 semifinals to Kiwis despite an impressive league run. India then lost in the 2021 WTC Final. India vs New Zealand is scheduled for another round of the Cricket World Cup in India. With India unbeaten so far in the tournament, going on a 9-0 winning streak, Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson wary of the threat Rohit Sharma & Co pose. He is also confident that the BlackCaps will be able to beat India again at home.
Ahead of the big IND vs NZ semifinal, Kane Williamson heaped praise on Rohit Sharma & Co for their ruthless approach. Here is an extract from the official press conferences before the Cricket World Cup semi-finals. Excerpts…
On India Challenge:
Kane Williamson Great question. We know it will be a very tough challenge. We know they’ve been playing well, but also that when it comes to the finals, everything starts over and it’s about the day. We as a group will be focusing on our cricket. We’ve played good cricket all along. We’ve had some narrow losses and a few victories along the way, which has put us in this situation. We are excited about the challenges ahead.
Kane Williamson Yeah, a great player and strokemaker. Yeah, clearly coming in to play a role in that sort of middle, lower order for India and has all the shots and knows the venue well so – a good player and they’ve got good players throughout so yeah for us the focus is on our cricket.
We need to look at the surface. It’s nice to have a squad of 15, and everyone is fit. Look at the pitch, and make a decision from there.
New Zealand underdogs?
Kane Williamson (Australia): I agree, every game is difficult in this tournament. I think we’ve seen that any team can win on the day. It doesn’t matter if the teams are good or not. It also matters if the conditions change. It’s good to be in the final stages, and to take a new approach, because it starts again.
Yeah, I mean the underdog thing – from what you guys write I don’t think it has changed too much, but that’s fine you know and India have been exceptional. India is one of, if not, the best team playing cricket in the world. But we also know that when we play at our best, we have the best chance.
It’s been an interesting journey, from not having a chance, to getting close, to it becoming a real possibility and something to aim for, and feeling grateful to be in this place, and then to return and then break my finger. It’s not funny. It was frustrating and testing, but I felt that it had not ruled me out. I was still grateful for that. And it’s nice that I’m fitter today than I was yesterday.
So, personally, I’m happy to be here. And it’s wonderful to be a participant in this tournament. These tournaments are unique and world events in India add to that.
India’s lack sixth bowling option
Kane Williamson I mean, every team relies on a slightly different mix and with Hardik’s injury, that was only natural. It meant that the balance of their team changed a bit. It didn’t affect the outcome. So they adjusted nicely, and you know that our team usually plays with a different balance or has in the past.
I think that when you enter tournaments, it’s important that the players are familiar with their roles. Whether it’s with a ball or a bat, it all moves quickly. You want to build on these performances as a group. And I’ve done this better than anyone else so far in the competition. I think that we have done some great stuff, too. So yeah, we’re all looking forward tomorrow. It’s going to a great event.
Mother of all battles?
Kane Williamson Yes, that was also a great match when we played India during pool play. When you reach the finals, I think things start all over again. It’s all about the day. I think that prior to this, you focus on two weeks, or whatever, six weeks, of good cricket. This will help you at the end of the round-robin. It’s difficult to micro-manage the process for nine games.
It’s all about how you express yourself as a group and assess the different conditions and opposition you face every day. It’s the same for us. We’re going to this game with a fresh perspective and we’ll be looking to play the game that’s in our hands. The conditions will also be different, and I’d say that’s part of the challenge. Not only the opponent but the change of venue is a big one.
On Rachin Ravindra
Wow, that’s incredible. He’s really stepped up in a way that wasn’t natural for him in our environment. He’s played a few games in the US, but he’s really done well in this tournament.
It’s more than just the number of runs that he has made, but the way he scored them and the way it was geared towards moving the team forward. It’s been a great start for him and I know we’ll be seeing more of his contributions in the future.
On India’s Crowd Support
Kane Williamson Yes, we are expecting a blue crowd to support their team. No doubt, they will be very passionate. As a player it’s also special to be able to play in front such a crowd.
We remember over time, a number different crowds we’ve had, that weren’t your own supporters, in fact, often they aren’t. We live in a small nation that doesn’t fill the stadiums, but you still appreciate that atmosphere and I’m confident that there will be another good one tomorrow. Yeah, guys have all kinds of experiences with these things, but for me, it’s more about embracing it.
Not many people get that opportunity, cricket in India, playing against India in a World Cup semi-final is special and something to appreciate and look forward to.