WT20: A semis exit again but it's not a jinx, insists Kane Williamson

New Delhi: Yet another semifinal exit from a big ICC event but New Zealand captain Kane Williamson refuses to call it a jinx, saying that the loss to England in the World Twenty20 last-four stage was just a case of going down to a better team on the given day.

Kane Williamson. Pic/AFP
Kane Williamson. Pic/AFP

New Zealand finished their group engagements unbeaten and were being seen as serious contenders for the title after adapting superbly to the conditions. However, the Kiwis bowed out rather timidly, going down by seven wickets in the first semifinal against England last night. "Not really (on whether New Zealand were battling a
jinx)," said Williamson.

"Every cricket game you play, you look at it as an isolated event. You turn up to play your best cricket but sometimes the other team plays better and you come second. That is what happened to us today. We played a semifinal not so long ago, we went alright there. We came first in that one (against South Africa in World Cup). That is just cricket," he said.

Williamson said New Zealand, who lost six semifinals before making the finals of the ODI World Cup last year, will take back plenty of positives. Williamson felt they were 25 runs short and the game changed in the last five overs of their innings where they lost five wickets for 32 runs to end at 153 for eight.

"Yes," he said when asked about the game swinging in England's favour in the last five overs. "I think we got off to a good start. We were probably 25 runs short and England bowled really well in the death period which made it really difficult for us. Unfortunately, we were not able to connect as well as we would have liked. "
Williamson (32) himself and Colin Munro (46) had set the foundation for a big score.

"130/3 I think was certainly a very good platform. We would have like to get a few more. Like I said it wasn't through lack of effort. England bowled well. T20 is pretty fickle in its nature and today wasn't mean to be for us. It is a fine line, T20 T20, and it didn't work for us today." New Zealand came into in the semifinal on the back of impressive performances especially from spinners Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santer. Williamson was satisfied with the team's showing.

"Overall in the tournament we played some good T20 cricket. In this format, you can lose games and we came up against a better team today." On Sodhi, who brought New Zealand back in the game with wickets of successive balls, Williamson said: "Not at all surprised with his performance. He has had a fantastic tournament. Even Santer for that matter. It (the performances) is extremely important for the team going ahead. Certainly, a lot of positives tournament to take back. "

He defended not playing an extra pacer in Trent Boult or Tim Southee. "The bowl didn't swing. We backed the eleven for job. They certainly got off to a really good start. Jason Roy took the game away from us. "At the same time, we were conscious of pulling the game back, which we managed with the couple of quick wickets. But
it wasn't to be today. Credit to England the way they came out today," said Williamson.

Williamson said he enjoyed captaining in the team's first big event post the retirement of Brendon McCullum. "I enjoyed captaincy. We grew as a unit which is really important. Hopefully we can build on that and play selfless cricket going ahead." Asked to pick favourites for the final at the Eden Gardens on Sunday, Williamson said it was tough to predict the winner.

"I certainly think that England can win it. Anyone of the other two teams can also win it. It is tough. People spoke about us being favourites at one stage and we lost. T20 is about a lot of unknowns and uncontrollable. It is all about how you perform on the day. They (England) are playing in Calcutta. It is very different surface to Delhi, it is slower. The team which adapts better will win," he summed up.

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