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T20 World Cup: 'They've been outstanding', Williamson praises his bowlers ahead of semis vs Pakistan

Sydney, Nov 8 (IANS) Ahead of their crucial semifinal of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup against Pakistan, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson on Tuesday lavished praise on his bowling attack, saying that they’ve been outstanding throughout this tournament.

The Kiwis delivered an outstanding performance in the Super 12s and finished right at the top of Group 1. While there were some breathtaking batting performances throughout the tournament, the BlackCaps skipper thinks the consistency of his bowlers also played a pivotal role in their journey to the semifinals.

“I mean, they’re experienced players for us. They’ve played for us a long time, whether that’s taking wickets or, in particular, adjusting to conditions which certainly we need them to come to tournaments, world events, that’s a big part of playing,” Williamson said in the pre-match press conference.

“So they’ve been outstanding throughout this tournament. And tomorrow we’re at another venue against another opposition, and we’ll have to make those adjustments again,” he added.

Three of the five bowlers New Zealand has used in this tournament have maintained an economy rate of less than seven.

Tim Southee (6.35), Mitchell Santner (6.43) and Ish Sodhi (6.78) have been outstanding. Only Lockie Ferguson (8.13) and Trent Boult (7.18) have been a little expensive but they have also done the job for the Kiwis as they have been real wicket-taking forces.

Williamson also went on to talk about the venue and the conditions. They have played in Sydney twice in this tournament already but he doesn’t think it’s going to be an advantage for them going in the match tomorrow.

“I suppose it’s kind of interesting, the first game we played here, the wicket was a very good one. And then the second time we played here it had changed. And sometimes you can take perhaps what you were expecting the wicket to be like in the first game and think it would behave in the same way, which it didn’t,” he said.

“Whether that’s a disadvantage or an advantage, it’s sort of hard to know. Both teams have played here. So we need to focus on our cricket really and the plans we want to look to execute and make sure we do adjust to the conditions and try and play smart,” he added.

New Zealand and Pakistan engaged in a tri-series, which also involved Bangladesh, ahead of this World Cup.

The Kiwis lost to Pakistan in the final and when Williamson was asked to reflect on the relevance of that series to this important match, he said, “I mean, we have a strong team. We know it’s going to be a tough match. Both teams are going to play in the semi, playing some good cricket throughout. The past is the past, and I think both teams are looking forward to tomorrow.”

But the 32-year-old is well aware of the strength of Pakistan’s pace attack and understands that their batters really need to be at the top of their game while facing them.

“They’ve got an outstanding pace attack. Like I mentioned, they’ve been playing really good cricket. They’ve got very experienced players on their side, who are match-winners. So, that’s a real strength for them,” he said.

New Zealand have been a really consistent side when it comes to ICC events. They were the runner-ups in the 2019 ODI World Cup and also in the T20 World Cup last year. Now they are in the semi-finals once again and will be eager to make it all the way to the final.

Asked about the secret behind their consistency in major tournaments, the stylish batter said ‘it’s just focusing on our cricket.’

“You come to these tournaments, and as we’ve seen, all teams can beat each other and it’s definitely a pretty exciting event. I guess you’re going through it trying to adjust to conditions as quickly as possible, make those changes to the different opposition and really go out and try and express yourselves,” Williamson said.

“It’s been nice that we’ve been able to see that throughout this competition. And certainly, want to be doing that again tomorrow,” he concluded.

–IANS

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