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Sports


Williamson hails New Zealand’s mental strength as they book their World Cup final place

Williamson hails New Zealand’s mental strength as they book their World Cup final place

Manchester, Jul 11 (UNI) New Zealand captain Kane Williamson looked remarkably

calm for a man who had ridden an emotional rollercoaster.

The Blacks Caps booked their second consecutive ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup

final appearance as a brilliant bowling performance secured a dramatic 18-run

victory over India at Old Trafford.

Williamson could barely hide his glee as Matt Henry and Trent Boult tore through

India’s top order, reducing them to 24 for four at the end of the tenth over.

Batsmen continued to fall until a record seventh wicket partnership between

MS Dhoni and the swashbuckling Ravindra Jadeja edged India into a slight

ascendancy.

But Williamson held his nerve under a high catch to dismiss the latter and Martin

Guptill’s brilliant run out of the former ended their determined rear-guard action.

“That was a brilliant fighting effort, which showed such a great mentality from our

guys,” said Williamson.

“Our start with the ball was outstanding, kicking us off and getting us into a real

position of strength," he said.

“They showed the qualities that we expect from our team but India are a class

side and they did soak it up even after being 20 for four, which was a really tough

start," Williamson said.

“The game was on a very fine line at one point and it’s just nice to be on the right

side of it and the small margins went our way. There were so many contributions

throughout the match, with bat, ball, in the field, that were vital to get us across the

line," he said.

“The way Jadeja and Dhoni were hitting the ball, they were likely to win, but our

fielders were then outstanding. Martin’s run out of Dhoni was a significant turning

point of the match,” said Williamson.

Williamson’s side came into this knockout game on the back of consecutive group

stage defeats to Pakistan, Australia and England - their solid start to the tournament

enough to narrowly secure a place in the knockout stages.

The captain had always insisted there was no panic in the camp and the team now

head to Lord’s - and a final date with either England or Australia - brimming with

confidence, despite losing to both sides in the group stages.

“We can beat anybody when we turn up,” added Williamson. “We are looking

forward to the challenge, it’s a very special moment to play in a World Cup final,

especially at Lord’s."

“We want to reflect on the good things we did in this match and the things we want

to improve on. We are just enjoying our cricket and it’s nice to be getting on a bus to

London, rather than flying home," he said.

“It’s been an enjoyable ride, but the feet are on the ground and we look forward to

our next challenge,” the New Zealand captain said.

The manner of the defeat will hurt Virat Kohli’s India but Williamson hopes their

passionate Bharat Army supporters will now adopt the Black Caps, as they seek to

win the World Cup for the first time.

“The passion for the game in India is unrivalled and we are all fortunate to have a

country like India be right behind this sport. India are a world-class side but cricket

is fickle in its nature, especially when it comes to the white ball game," he said.

“Hopefully we can adopt 1.5 billion supporters and they'll be behind us on Sunday,”

Williamson added.

UNI XC-BM

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