Thu, 18 Jul 2019

Williamson all praise for 'world class' Santner

ESPN
11 Jul 2019, 06:52 GMT+10

Be honest. At the end of New Zealand's innings, played over two days, who thought their 239 for 8 was enough to keep India out of the final?

Perhaps not many outside their dressing room. But apparently New Zealand themselves did. Reasons? The pitch was a little tacky. Stroke-making was difficult. Boundaries, it turned out, were difficult to come by, for both teams.

"I think guys slept pretty well," captain Kane Williamson said, of New Zealand's overnight position. "We were focussing on what we needed to achieve in those last four overs. And at 211 for 5 we felt we were there or thereabouts on target with what we wanted to try and achieve to be competitive on that surface.

WATCH on Hotstar (India only): How the India wickets fell

"It wasn't the sort of wicket that a good score was 300, it was very much mid-200s and we were aware of that. So it was trying to get to that 240-250 stage against a formidable India bowling attack."

New Zealand's opening bowlers were outstanding, reducing India to 24 for 4 inside the first Powerplay, but so was their sole spinner - Mitchell Santner - whose first eight overs brought two wickets, and yielded only 15 runs, with two maidens in the reckoning.

His figures were made worse by Ravindra Jadeja's hitting later in the innings, but he was nevertheless instrumental in helping New Zealand take the match by the collar. Jadeja had himself earlier bowled well on this Old Trafford deck.

"It was an outstanding spell from Santner on a surface that no doubt was offering something to the slower bowlers," Williamson said. "We saw in our innings as well, the amount of spin that the Indian spinners got, and Mitch is a world-class bowler, so we expected he would operate well.

"But to put up a performance like that was very special, in a period of play that was very, very important. There were so many contributions throughout the match - with bat, ball, and in the field. They were vital for us to get across the line today."

New Zealand had come into the semi-finals on the back of three losses - a worse run of results than any team has ever come into a World Cup knockouts stage with. And yet, they found a way through.

"We saw a number of results where sides ranked lower beat sides ranked higher. But I think everybody knew that anybody can beat anybody," he said. "So when that is the nature of it, it seems unlikely that you're going to win every game.

"There's so much more to winning and losing, and I think it's really, really important that as a side you identify parts of matches where you may have not done things that well, and parts that were out of your control that went the way of the opposition. You try and look at it for what it is, and move away from that game with a bit of clarity, so that you're not too scarred from just what the result was.

"And a couple of those games that we lost, I think we were able to look at them like that throughout this tournament. The surfaces have been challenging. They have been variable throughout the game and at times have changed within the 100 overs that are available for a match."

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