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

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