Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - The Kane Williamson agenda for the World Cup final. "I think ultimately the side has been operating well as a collective and certainly playing for each other," Williamson said
"I think ultimately the side has been operating well as a collective and certainly playing for each other," Williamson said
At the T20 WC final on Sunday, all Kane Williamson wants New Zealand to do is go out there, enjoy the occasion and take it on in their own style.
But what's that? Can he define the New Zealand style?
“I mean, probably not in one short answer,” the New Zealand captain answered, following up with phrases like “making little adjustments” and “having the courage” and “smart cricket.”
It was arguably an incoherent response, but you could see why Williamson was struggling to put his feelings in words. He's right in the middle of the style he speaks about, and it's perhaps much easier for everyone else to make sense of that. For it's been on display throughout their campaign so far in UAE and is hard to miss.
It manifested in how New Zealand were quick to correct their team balance and opted for an extra bowler immediately after their loss to Pakistan. In how Adam Milne seamlessly slotted in for Lockie Ferguson and in how New Zealand dismantled India with spin, in conditions that couldn't be better suited to the opposition. In how the team got through three 38-degree afternoon games in five days pretty comfortably, and in how they outwitted tournament favourites England with the help of a first-time T20 opener in Daryl Mitchell.
Everything has slowly been coming together for them, be it Tim Southee's improving returns on these shores or Martin Guptill's form.
“There have been highlights scattered throughout. But I think ultimately the side has been operating well as a collective and certainly playing for each other,” Williamson said, unwittingly giving away the New Zealand style of play. He had more. “It's always a bit of a journey, and as a side, you're always trying to improve and grow and it's been great that it's been the case over a period of time, and we have seen it in a snapshot here at a tournament where the team has managed to take steps forward and improve as a side, and I suppose that's reflected in where we sit at the moment.
“But having said that, you know, that challenge is going to be there and will continue to be there. So we're looking forward to the occasion tomorrow. But yeah, it's another match and another opportunity for us as a team to go out and play.”
Devon Conway would be missing out after a self-inflicted hand fracture and Williamson is hopeful that his replacement in Tim Seifert will fit into the plans just as well. After all, that's an important element of the New Zealand way.
“There is a good mix of youth and experience, and some of these younger players that keep coming through in all teams love to hit the ball out of the park and are really exciting talents. Someone like Tim Seifert coming in is very much that.
“Obviously the loss of Devon is a big one. You know, he's been a big part of all formats for us, and it's disappointing and a really freak thing to happen. But for us, it's keeping our focus on the task, and all the players are really excited with the opportunity tomorrow to go out, and like I say, try to improve and adjust to what will be new tomorrow, which is a different opposition and a different venue.”
New tomorrow: the phrase is key. It has to be that if New Zealand are to come out victorious. They face Australia after all, whom they have never beaten in an ICC knockout game, and Williamson is banking on the recent familiarity.
“I suppose the fact that we are neighbors creates a bit of that (rivalry), and in a number of different sports as well. I mean we also play against each other on a number of occasions. Naturally it's a little bit easier to fly across to each other's countries and compete, and certainly in recent times with the COVID restrictions that have been going on. That's been something that's happened more frequently.
“It's always a great competition, a great occasion when we play each other. Both teams I think are really excited at that prospect tomorrow.”
If New Zealand get it right one more time in this tournament, it would be their second ICC trophy on the bounce.
“It would be some achievement. But you know, where it stands at the moment is there's a game of cricket to play, and for us it's focusing on that and focusing on our cricket and looking to go out there and implement those things that are important to us. But you know, in these sorts of events, the focus is always on the calendar and there's a really exciting opportunity to be here now,” Williamson said.
How considerably that excitement makes way for game plans in the final could well be the answer to what the New Zealand style is all about. Of course, Williamson wouldn't take note.