After the group league is done and dusted of ICC World Cup, semi-finals are around the corner which will start from July 9. Tournament favourite India will take on New Zealand at Old Trafford while the host England will face the defending champion Australia on July 11. Although the semi-final will be important, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson shared that they are not worried about their recent form before the game against India.
New Zealand faced defeats in their last three games against Pakistan, Australia and England in the group stage but qualified for the semi-final for the superior net run-rate. However, they are confident enough to face India.
“It’s one of those occasions where every team has worked so hard to end up in the last four where, to a certain extent, it all starts again where the day comes and anything can happen,” he said. “All sides have beaten one another on a number of occasions throughout the last few years, so it is a really exciting opportunity for all teams.”
“I think for everybody it sort of starts fresh tomorrow after what was a very tough round-robin stage, and we were certainly expecting that it would be tough. It’s just a great occasion to be a part of. I know the guys are really excited by the opportunity to go out and try and try and play with that freedom that when we do gives us the best chance,” he added.
For Tuesday’s game, it will be history repeats itself as in 2008, both the captains Williamson and Kohli led their respective sides in the ICC Under-19 World Cup where India became the winner with Virat Kohli actually dismissed Kane Williamson.
“I actually hadn’t thought about that at all so I guess that’s kind of cool, isn’t it, that a few years later, we’re here again, perhaps on a slightly different stage, but pretty special and a lot of respects to being able to lead your country out in a semifinal on the biggest stage,” shared Williamson.
While speaking about Kohli, Williamson shared, “He (Kohli) used to be an all-rounder I think back in the day, but hasn’t bowled as much recently. He was a formidable player, growing up — that seems odd to say because we were at the same age playing against each other on a number of occasions and then to go into international cricket at a youngish age, then IPL and these different sorts of things,” commented the Kiwi captain.
“It’s obviously been a pleasure watching Virat play and evolve into the superstar that he is,” said the in-form captain.
As far as India’s concern, India’s in-form opener Rohit Sharma has been in formidable form. He recently made history by becoming the first player to hit five centuries in a single World Cup tournament.
Williamson knew the game would go for their way if they dismiss Rohit Sharma early.
“There’s a lot of parts to (dismissing him) and as a bowling unit, first and foremost, it’s assessing conditions. Rohit has been clearly the stand-out batter in this tournament so far and been batting beautifully,” he added.
“But, as we know, we come into a semi-final. It is another day where both sides will be trying to adjust to the conditions as quickly as possible and both teams will be looking for early wickets regardless of what their name may be, but, without a doubt, he’s been superb throughout the tournament,” he concluded.