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Kane Williamson: We are excited about the challenge ahead

Updated on: 15 November,2023 08:08 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Subodh Mayure |

New Zealand skipper accepts India’s invincibility, but underlines that ODI success hinges on how teams fare on the day

Kane Williamson: We are excited about the challenge ahead

New Zealand's Kane Williamson during a practice session on Tuesday, ahead of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 semi-final against India at the Wankhede Stadium. Pic/Satej Shinde

As usual, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson was calm and relaxed during on the eve of the World Cup semi-final clash with India at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday. 

Despite some issues in the sound system on a couple of occasions which compelled star Kiwi batsman to wait for around 10 minutes, he maintained his composure taking things with a smile, just like he did while facing bouncers in the game. 

The NZ captain knows the strength of Rohit Sharma & Co well, a side that have been unbeaten in all nine league games in the tournament. “We know it’s going to be a really tough challenge. They’re a side that’s been playing extremely well, but we also know come finals time, everything sort of starts again and it’s all about the day. So, for us as a team, it’s very much the focus on our cricket again. 

“We’ve played some good cricket throughout. We’ve had a couple of narrow losses and a few wins along the way which have put us in the position we’re in. So, we’re excited about the challenge ahead,” Williamson said.

The Kiwis began their campaign with a nine-wicket win over defending champions England at Ahmedabad on October 5. However, they managed to win four more games later and earned Top-4 qualification.  

Williamson also recalled their league game versus India at Dharamsala, where they lost by four wickets on October 22. He said: “That was a great game as well, when we played India in pool play. I think when you get to finals, things sort of start again. It’s on the day and I think prior to that, you’re really focusing on two, or whatever it is, six weeks perhaps of good cricket to hold you in good stead at the back end of round robin play. Because it’s very difficult I think for nine games to kind of micromanage that process.”

Williamson lavished praise on their new star all-rounder Rachin Ravindra, who has smashed 565 runs and claimed five wickets in the tournament. “Yeah, quite incredible really. [He] burst onto the scene in a big way in a role that perhaps wasn’t sort of natural maybe within our environment. He [Ravindra] did a bit of it domestically, but to do what he’s done so far in this tournament with his feet firmly on the ground has been really, really special. As we’ve all seen, he’s an incredibly special and talented player and a fantastic individual in the environment.

“It’s not just the volume of runs that he’s achieved so far but how he’s been scoring them and how it’s been geared towards trying to move the team forward. Some fantastic contributions so far and at such a young age and I’m sure we’ll see plenty more of it to come,” Williamson remarked.

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