Cricket World Cup 2023 – Kane Williamson from New Zealand – “When you get to the finals, it starts all over again” – LSB

Kane Williamson’s 45 over six weeks went down in the history books on the eve of the World Cup semi-final in Mumbai. His New Zealand team ranked fourth in the group stage with five wins and four defeats, while its opponent, India, was undefeated and topped the standings. But Williamson considers those positions irrelevant.

“When it comes time for the finals, everything starts again,” he said, repeatedly underlining the group stage in several answers during his pre-match press conference at Wankhede Stadium. “It’s great to get to the final stages and then take a new approach, because it’s starting over.”

New Zealand started the World Cup with four straight wins, then suffered four straight defeats to threaten their place in the semi-finals. They were on the cusp of the knockout stages after a five-wicket win over Sri Lanka in Bengaluru boosted their net run rate, before defeats to Afghanistan and Pakistan confirmed their progress.

They have had to deal with a number of injuries throughout the World Cup: Matt Henry returned home after seven group stage matches with a torn hamstring; Williamson himself suffered a broken thumb after returning from a ligament injury. And many others have overcome neglect or illness. On Wednesday, they will choose from a full lineup of 15 people.

“When you get to the finals, it starts all over again,” Williamson reiterated. “Before that, you were really focusing on six weeks of good cricket to keep you in good stead at the end of league play… Teams are working hard to get to this stage: they have to play a lot of good cricket in a tournament setting to get here over this stage.” long period of time.”

He laughed when a reporter suggested that India would view their opponents as “a bit tough”, saying: “Every match in this tournament is a tough match. And as we’ve seen all along, any team can beat any team on the day, whether it’s that or not.” no”. [because of] “Quality in both aspects, but also changing conditions and how that has an impact.”

They face a huge challenge: to become the first World Cup team to beat India who have been the superior side with both bat and ball, sweeping aside all comers. “We know it will be a really tough challenge: they are a team that is playing very well,” Williamson said.

“The underdog thing – from what you guys have done,” he has made a habit of underestimating his team, even after reaching the World Cup final in the previous two editions. [the press] Writing, I don’t think it’s changed much. But that’s fine, and India have been an exception: they are one of the best, if not the best, teams, and are playing cricket that matches that.

“But we also know, on our day, when we play our best cricket, it definitely gives us the best chance. And when finals time comes, anything can happen… It’s a very big focus on our cricket again: we’ve played some “Good cricket all the way, we’ve had some narrow losses and some wins along the way which has put us in the position we’re in.”

Williamson has made just three appearances in this tournament due to his injuries – although that is three more than he was initially expected to play when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the Indian Premier League earlier this year. “It’s been an interesting journey, from it not being an opportunity to getting close to it becoming a reality and a goal.

“[I was] I definitely feel really grateful to be here, and then to come back and then break my thumb…it was very frustrating and testing. “It hasn’t ruled me out, so I’m still grateful for that and it’s good to be fitter than I was yesterday… These tournaments are special, and the world events in India definitely add to that.”

Wednesday’s semi-final is a repeat of four years ago, when New Zealand were outscored by 18 points in a rain-hit slugfest. “I think the game will be a little different: it might be played over one day instead of two days, given the weather,” Williamson said. “It’s a great occasion.”

Indian fans dominated the crowd at Old Trafford in the 2019 semi-final, and the Wankhede Stadium will be even more partisan on Wednesday night. “We expect there will be a fairly blue crowd that will support their team and no doubt they will be very excited about that,” Williamson said.

“When you get the chance to play in front of that kind of crowd, it’s special. We remember over the years, that a number of the different fans that we’ve had haven’t always been our fans – in fact, a lot of times they’re not, we’re a small country, no Always fills the stadium.

“But you still appreciate the atmosphere that it brings, and I’m sure there will be a good atmosphere tomorrow. Guys have different levels of experience in these things, but for me, it’s about embracing it. Not many people understand that. Opportunity: Cricket in India “Playing against India in the World Cup semi-final is special and something to appreciate and look forward to.”

Matt Roller is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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