Manchester, July 8 (IANS) New Zealands bowling will definitely hold the key when they take on India in the first semifinal of the World Cup at the Old Trafford on Tuesday and skipper Kane Williamson believes that his boys are up for the challenge to take on Virat Kohli and Co.
“Yeah, I think the bowlers have been brilliant throughout this whole campaign. We know that in cricket every day is different. Some days are better than the others, so just trying to adapt as a unit as best you can is definitely the most important thing. By and large, the players have done that outstandingly well. But we know that we’ve got a different challenge coming up tomorrow, in different conditions too,” Williamson said on the eve of the match.
Talking about Indian batting is incomplete without mentioning the in-form Rohit Sharma and the Kiwi skipper said that his team was ready to take on the man who is enjoying the form of his life in this World Cup.
“As a bowling unit, first and foremost, it’s about assessing the conditions. Rohit has been clearly the stand-out batter in this tournament so far and he has been batting beautifully.
“But, as we know, we are going into a semifinal. 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 (Rohit) has been superb throughout the tournament,” Williamson said with a smile.
Asked if he was under pressure to perform on the big stage, Williamson said: “No, I think there’s also been a number of other contributions that have been really important for us to get to where we are right now.
“All contributions have been very significant for us to chase totals down which we have done well in the earlier stages of the competition. From my perspective, I try to go out and play my role as best I can to help move the team forward and that doesn’t change going into tomorrow’s match. You always want to contribute more.
“You never sort of put a number on it. That is why we all practice as hard as we can to try and make those contributions bigger and better.”
The New Zealand bowling attack has been most successful against India in recent times, but Williamson believes that the conditions have had a say in the way things have panned out so far.
“Conditions are a big part of that question and on the ones that we have been successful, we have been able to exploit those conditions. Against any opposition, when the ball is moving, whether it is off the surface or in the air, you do have the opportunity to take early wickets and everybody goes into the game with a desire to do that.
“We will have to wait and see what the surface holds for us. As a bowling unit, the guys will be certainly trying their best to try and take early wickets on whatever surface we get because we know that it is very important. India obviously have a very good batting line-up, so you do need to try and dismiss them early,” he pointed out.
Just like India, New Zealand also came to know their semifinal opponent after the last game of the group stage between Australia and South Africa. Asked if that changed anything, Williamson said it didn’t matter at this level.
“It’s the semifinal of a World Cup and whoever you play, it is going to be a tough match. The top four teams have managed to get through, obviously playing some good cricket along the way, and we know that we are in for a tough battle, which is great. I think every side believes that if they have got this far, they can go all the way. And to do that, you need to basically beat everybody. If we are able to do that, who knows what the future holds for us,” he said.
While critics have called India favourites for the game, it doesn’t bother Williamson much.
“Although we have qualified fourth, we have equal opportunities as anybody else. Anybody could beat anybody and we saw that happen on a number of occasions,” the New Zea Land skipper said.