A thriller of a match at Old Trafford against India took New Zealand through to a second consecutive World Cup final and captain Kane Williamson was just pleased to be on the right side of the result once again.
“It’s a different feeling, to be fair. The surfaces and the way we had to skin it, has been different to the last World Cup we experienced. Have a really good bunch of guys. A tough game, tough semifinal and I’m really pleased we are on the right side of things. It was really tough,” Williamson said in the post-match presentation ceremony.
“Our character was tested and we came out on top. We’ve seen conditions be really tricky at times and in some games, we didn’t play our best cricket but guys weren’t disheartened and backed ourselves.”
Right from the word go, Williamson and his side were aware of the abilities of the Indian batting and were clear that they’d have to be on their A-game from the start.
“We thought that 240-250 will help us to put India under pressure. The guys were able to do that in the middle and at the back end without going too hard. Lot of it was on the conditions, with the rain around yesterday and it changed the conditions.”
“With the new ball, our bowlers tried to move the ball off the seam or in the air. We knew we need to put pressure on that world class batting line-up of India. We knew that when the track slowed down, we had to squeeze.”
New Zealand’s bowlers had learnt their lesson from the game against Australia and kept the pressure on the batsmen, but it was hanging in the balance at one stage.
“They showed why they are a world class side when they took it really deep to a position where they could have won it through MS and Jadeja.”
For Williamson and New Zealand, Matt Henry was key to the result as he removed the two openers and Dinesh Karthik with a brilliant first spell, which eventually earned him the man-of-the-match award.
“We had to ask a lot of questions against that world-class batting line-up. We knew we had to create pressure and also that this was a difficult wicket to bat on as it was holding up a little bit. We brought ourselves on and if we could create a few early chances, anything could happen,” Henry said after the match.
Up until a brilliant piece of fielding in the deep from Martin Guptill, their ticket to Lord’s seemed in doubt but the New Zealand went for the kill almost as soon as they smelled blood.
“Hardik and Dhoni, the way they batted with Jadeja to come in, we know they are world-class finishers. We needed to finish off well and get them out before it went too deep.”
On Sunday, New Zealand will be at Lord’s and one of England or Australia will join them in the summit clash.
“Very special to earn ourselves a Lord’s final, thanks to all the New Zealand supporters out there. We are looking forward to the final on Sunday.”