ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2019
“Our attack’s performed really well on a real variety of surfaces where taking pace off has been really important,” Williamson. © Getty
“Conditions are a big part of that question,” quipped Kane Williamson at a question posed about New Zealand’s memorable successes against India’s top order in the recent past. Ahead of the semi-final against India in Manchester, it’s conditions which will be a big watchword for New Zealand.
It found recurring mentions right through, a lot of it unprompted. Sample this. How do you get Rohit out? “There’s a lot of parts to that and as a bowling unit, first and foremost, it’s assessing conditions.”
Does it fire you up that many people consider India as favourites? “I don’t know if “fired up” is the right term. We are in the top four now and I think if we are reflecting back on the round-robin, we definitely deserve to be here and that’s reflected in the standings.
“We had a couple of tough losses coming into this part of the tournament, but we do need to look at those for what they were and there are a lot of factors there that were stiff challenges, not just the opposition but conditions as well. And trying to adapt to those as best you can is the most important thing.”
It’s a big watchword for New Zealand because Williamson believes that it affects a lot of dynamics of their team. Make no mistake, New Zealand have fared very well in a variety of conditions on their way to the knockouts, but have got to this position with a mixture of good and bad. Firstly, the good, and it’s that their bowlers have adapted well. “Our attack’s performed really well on a real variety of surfaces where taking pace off has been really important, certainly on the round-robin stages on the surfaces we were on, so they have adapted superbly,” is Williamson’s assessment of them.
In the batting department, while Williamson has been a class apart, the top order including likes of Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor have been below-par.
“What we didn’t quite expect coming into the tournament was the large variety of conditions that we faced. That definitely made perhaps batting with any rhythm a real challenge for everybody, so being able to adapt with the bat and just trying to contribute to what would be a competitive total if you are batting first, or obviously chasing a score is certainly what is the most important thing,” says Williamson.
Manchester is predicted to have a cloudy Saturday with a bit of rain. The pitch will be different to the one used a day ago for the last game of the league stages. And as they take on India for the first time in the tournament, it’s the uncontrollables that New Zealand will have a keen eye upon in their bid to reach a second consecutive World Cup final.