Captain Kane Williamson stated on Tuesday that New Zealand will approach their highly anticipated World Cup semi-final against India with a fresh perspective and confidence in their ability to outperform the in-form hosts in Mumbai.
The Black Caps commenced the tournament with four consecutive victories but faced the first of four consecutive defeats against Rohit Sharma’s side during a period of injury issues. However, they secured a spot in Wednesday’s semi-final with a late surge.
Williamson, who returned from knee surgery for the World Cup and recuperated from a fractured finger during it, was absent in the loss to India. But, he anticipates a similarly challenging test from the hosts, who remained undefeated in the group stage.
“We know it’s going to be a tough challenge. They’re a side that’s been playing extremely well, but we also know come finals time everything starts again and it’s all about the day,” Williamson told reporters.
“So for us as a team, it’s very much the focus on our cricket again. We’ve played good cricket throughout. We’ve had a couple of narrow losses and a few wins along the way which have put us in this position we’re in. We’re excited about the challenge ahead.”
New Zealand dashed India’s hopes in the semi-finals of the 2019 edition, and Williamson expressed no concern that his side were still considered underdogs.
“I don’t think it has changed too much, but that’s fine and India have been exceptional,” Williamson said.
“One of the, if not the best team going around and playing cricket that matches that. But we know as well, on the day when we play our best cricket it certainly gives us the best chance. And come finals time anything can happen.”
Opening batter Rachin Ravindra admirably stepped up in the absence of Williamson throughout their campaign, amassing an impressive 565 runs and earning accolades from the captain.
“It’s not just the volume of runs that he’s achieved so far but how he’s been scoring them and how it’s been geared towards trying to move the team forward,” Williamson said.
“Some fantastic contributions and at such a young age. I’m sure we’ll see plenty more of it to come.”