A brilliantly paced century under pressure from the New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson may have helped his side clinch a four-wicket win against South Africa, but the man-of-the-match felt it was Colin de Grandhomme’s impetus that really set them on the path to victory.
“He (Colin de Grandhomme) is our x-factor player. He came in and hit the ball beautifully. He played a brilliant knock. de Grandhomme for me was the standout with his bowling and the impetus he gave us with the bat in the end. We just tried to get through the tough parts, we knew we would face dots,” Williamson said in the post-match presentation.
Williamson, along expected lines, adopted a risk-free approach to the chase and was helped majorly by the number of mistakes made by the Proteas in the field.
The Black Caps skipper will also consider himself extremely lucky because when he was on 76 he got a faint edge to a ball by leg-spinner Imran Tahir that Quinton de Kock caught behind the stumps but South Africa took no action.
“I just tried communicating with my partners, and despite trying to score quickly, I kept finding the fielders. Was trying to do the job as well as you can, and a number of other contributions were vital.
“We had to build partnerships, but we kept losing wickets and coupled with the tight South African bowling made life difficult for us.
“It was one of those surfaces that creates close contests and it was nice to get a win today.”
While the Proteas pace battery has been off colour and plagued by injury at the World Cup, New Zealand have not had any problems on that front and the skipper was delighted about the fact that the bowlers did well to restrict South Africa to less than 250.
“Both teams were looking to bowl first here. The wicket had a little softness to it and the bowlers hit the hard lengths. The slower bowlers felt that they were the hardest to get away and the bowling attack did really well.
“I thought the first half was a really good effort from us, pitching the ball in the right areas. We knew at the halfway stage that we had done well with the ball.
New Zealand’s win at Birmingham means that alongside India they are the only team to remain unbeaten in the World Cup so far.
“When you come into these tournaments, you know you will be playing different opponents on different wickets. Lot of big games coming up.
New Zealand next take on West Indies on Saturday (June 22) in their sixth game of the tournament.