World Cup 2015: New Zealand March 16, 2015

Stay calm, play with freedom - Williamson


Trent Boult v Chris Gayle will be one of the key contests in the quarter-final © Getty Images

An unbeaten group stage. Eight one-day wins internationals in a row and 21 in 31 matches since the start of January 2014. It's an impressive record for New Zealand, but they know it will not count for much if the result goes against them in the World Cup quarter-final against West Indies in Wellington on Saturday.

It will be the last of the four quarters played, giving New Zealand a lengthy build-up - which can be both a help and hindrance. It gives Adam Milne more time to overcome his shoulder injury, which kept him out of the match against Bangladesh, but also risks feeding the tension that inevitably comes with knockout cricket.

New Zealand have reached six World Cup semi-finals without going any further, including the last two, losing to Sri Lanka both times. They shape as a potential opponent in Auckland this time should they overcome West Indies who have been the least convincing of the eight teams to qualify. For now, though, only Saturday matters.

"After playing good, we know that everything starts again," Kane Williamson said. "Anything in the past is quickly forgotten."

Williamson started what is likely to be plenty of mentions of not treating the quarter-final any differently by saying a relaxed outlook will serve New Zealand best. "We don't want to try too hard, it's important you are relaxed and calm because that's when you play your best cricket. With it being on the line we need to look at it with freedom so we can express ourselves in high-pressure situations.

"We've played six games and each one has been very different, so it's nice to have all those experiences going into the quarter-final but we need to keep playing with that calm aggression we have had in the group stage."

West Indies were without Chris Gayle against UAE after his long-standing back complaint flared up on the morning of the game, but he is likely to play the quarter even if not at full fitness. Gayle has had one stand-out performance in the World Cup, his 215 against Zimbabwe, alongside scores of 36, 4, 3 and 21. Regardless of a bad back or his inconsistency, he is certainly firmly on New Zealand's radar.

"Everyone knows what Gayle can do, he's one of the biggest matchwinners in world cricket," Williamson said. "It's important we put a little bit of focus on him, but more important we look at ourselves. When he plays well, he takes any team down. Still, if you bowl well you can get anyone out. We've got world-class players as well."

New Zealand's most recent one-day meeting with West Indies was the 2013-14 series, which ended 2-2. New Zealand suffered their second-heaviest defeat in ODIs, by 203 runs, in Hamilton. Kirk Edwards and Dwayne Bravo, neither part of the World Cup, scored hundreds that day in a 211-run fourth-wicket stand.

Barring Jesse Ryder's presence at the top of the order, the spot now taken by Brendon McCullum opening the batting with Grant Elliott in the middle, New Zealand's top order was the same as the one which will line up in Wellington. However, of the bowling attack only Tim Southee and Corey Anderson are likely to be present this time if Milne recovers to take his spot back from McClenaghan.

Andrew McGlashan is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Douglas on March 18, 2015, 0:31 GMT

    Can't wait for Taylor, Holder, Russel and Sammy to run through NZ. You can only get away with slog sweep so much!

  • nick on March 17, 2015, 13:40 GMT

    drop Gayle to number 5 and promote Simmons up the order to open the innings along with Charles. Smith has failed once too many times and I know for a fact the swinging ball will be too much for Gayle. If west indies lose wickets early, put ramdin ahead of Gayle also anything to protect him from Southee and Boult at the top.

  • Samuel Murphy on March 17, 2015, 8:20 GMT

    Nz is only undefeated team in 2015 so far, what an achievement. Aus loss 1 to nz, SA 3 (wi then pak n india in wc) india 4 (englandx2 ausx2 though 0 loss in wc so far) proud kiwi

  • Bill on March 17, 2015, 7:03 GMT

    Thinking makes it so. It has to go up past that level of playing just another game. It's not. Embrace that it's special. At this stage of a comp some people/teams lap it up, while others sit and chew their nails, worrying about what could go wrong. Thinking makes it so. Why not aim for a World Record, or personal bests. We win games whenever players achieve new personal bests. It certainly helps the cause when we are excelling rather than trying to play the percentages. Do us all a favour and beat the West Indies team because your a team that's playing cricket better and conducting yourselves the right way.

  • Krishen on March 17, 2015, 4:33 GMT

    Top teams based on batting and bowling experience in CWC 2015 are 1. SA 2. NZ 3. SL 4. AUS 5. ENG 6. IND. 7. PAK 8. WI The pitch conditions and new ODI rules favour AUS, NZ and SA. The performance of teams get optimized by captaincy and also get affected by the ability of individual players to handle pressure The results of matches are determined not by potential but by the difference in the overall batting, bowling and fielding performance of competing teams. NZ v AUS match showed the batting fragility of both teams. AUS collapsed from 80 for 1 to 108 for 9 and later recovered to 151. It should have been an easy chase for NZ. However NZ after an over aggressive start , just about managed to win thanks largely to a calm Willamson. Matches between NZ v BD and AUS v SL brought out limitations in bowling in both teams. NZ is far ahead of mercurial WI ( w.o Bravo & Pollard ) in the race for a spot in SF. However more surprises in CWC 2015 can't be ruled out..

  • Dummy on March 17, 2015, 4:31 GMT

    Look what your top batsman are saying for this match 1st. No doubt Nz play well in all the tournament but Wi have every ability to destroy you. Wi can beat any team when its matter of knockout

  • Ben on March 17, 2015, 4:28 GMT

    Kiwis will be too good for the Windies. However, they may come up against their bogey team, Sri Lanka in the semi.

  • mark on March 17, 2015, 4:21 GMT

    @LennonDaveBhagwandin Yes, several teams have won world cups without losing a single game. WI won the first 2 world cups unbeaten, Aus in 1987, SL did it in 1996, Aus in 2003 and 2007. So that's 6 times, more often than not it seems.

  • Dummy4 on March 17, 2015, 2:32 GMT

    West Indies will beat New Zealand once we change the batting order to ;.... Gayle, Johnson, Simmons, Russell, Samuels, Ramdin, Sammy, Holder, Taylor,Cotterrel and Dwayne Smith. Dwayne at #11 will give the batting the push if it comes to that.

  • Al on March 17, 2015, 1:46 GMT

    NZ must be happy with this.....been slaughtering West Indies home and away last season.....this is too big for WI....Wi lucky to even be here, although they did what was needed in the end....lucky was UAE last.....cake tin is a fortress.....Eden park is our baby (ask aussie) will have plenty kiwi support...mmwe may not be a vricket mad nation but those who love it will be raucous and all other rugby supporters will back us and the league boys too....i call....NZ codes unite!....we win this and it is NZ sport biggest result......and believe me we are a favourite to take it..........we love Aussie pitches.......hard work in NZ....SWINGS HEAPS!! haha just gotta love it

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