New Zealand’s decision to bat even after winning the toss in an overcast condition and their batsmen’s struggle to put up a big total subsequently had baffled many experts. But, their spectacular win over India on Wednesday proved skipper Kane Williamson’s decision right. Speaking after the match, Williamson revealed how his team’s total was exactly along the lines of what he and his teammate Ross Taylor’s early assessment.
Williamson said, “It was really tough batting conditions yesterday. We had to assess conditions quickly, I think both sides thought it would be a higher scoring game. We spoke about getting 240-250 and we knew that would be competitive. There were a lot of contributions from everyone to get us to that total.”
Williamson said that his team had a robust strategy to contain the powerful Indian batting line-up. After the completion of the New Zealand’s innings, the Kiwi team management sat down with their bowlers to devise a detailed strategy to stop Indian batsmen from scoring runs freely.
“We spoke about the conditions during the interval,” he said adding that “we wanted to put the ball in good areas and move the ball around and put some pressure on India.”
He added, “They (Indians) are a world-class side. It was a great start from the bowlers, we knew it would get tougher for us as the innings went on. We showed plenty of heart and the fielders and bowlers were outstanding.”
New Zealand bowling was incredibly sharp as they sent three top Indian batsmen namely Rohit Sharma, captain Virat Kohli and KL Rahul in quick succession with the team’s total being just 5 in little over three overs. The Indian score soon became 24/4 in 10 overs. Little later, Indians were facing a disaster after being reduced to 92/6.
Although, Ravindra Jadeja played a valiant innings and added 116 runs with Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who made 50, for the seventh wicket, the required run rate of over 11 had become a huge challenge for the Indians.
Speaking about his side’s making it to the final, Williamson said, “It’s a different feeling to last time. We’ve had to skin it over the round-robin, so it’s been quite different. A lot of heart has been shown by the guys so far but we’re keeping our feet on the ground. It was a great semi-final and we’re happy to be on the right side of it.”
Kohli agreed that New Zealand deserved to be in the final. He said, “It’s tough – 45 minutes of bad cricket put you out of the tournament. It’s hard to come to terms with but New Zealand deserve it – they put us under pressure and came through in the key moments.”
“Our shot selection could’ve been better but otherwise we played a good brand of cricket and I’m proud of the way we played. Come the knockouts it is anyone’s game and New Zealand showed more composure and were braver and they deserve to go through to the semi-finals,” the Indian skipper added.
New Zealand will now play either England or Australia in the final on 14 July at Lord’s in London.