England v New Zealand, World T20 2016, Semi-final, Delhi March 29, 2016

Adaptable New Zealand bank on successful template


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We've shown an ability to adapt to conditions - Munro

They all say that you have to play the big matches as if it were just another game. New Zealand might have that covered through their captain Kane Williamson. At the best of the times he is understated and levelled, but when you see that a buzzing phone bothers him more than a question about the perceived lack of ruthlessness in the World Cup final, you know this team is taking it as just another game.

When asked about "the time of their lives" in the World Cup last year, having come up short against "ruthless" Australians, and what lessons they took from there, Williamson said: "Australia are a very good cricket side. They beat us. That's fine. That can happen in cricket.

"From our perspective we want to keep improving as a unit. We are not looking too far down the track, of changing personalities or looking to make drastic changes. We just want to keep taking small steps forward as a team. Hope that brings a consistent improvement. Respect the game, you can win, you can lose. T20 is more fickle than any format. Go into the game, play fearless cricket, and play smart cricket as well."

Apart from fearless cricket, New Zealand have played a lot of canny cricket. Their selections, and success thereof in all four matches, have come as a surprise for others, but it is business as usual for Williamson and coach Mike Hesson. "I think in terms of my perspective and our coach they are not surprises to us," Williamson said. "We are simply trying to pick horses for courses, our best side for the given conditions against the given opposition at that point of time. That certainly won't change."

The success of New Zealand has been the readiness of replacements whenever they are called upon. Mitchell McClenaghan was called in at the last minute in Dharamsala against Australia, and he ended up as the Man of the Match. Tim Southee and Trent Boult, who have not played any game in this World T20, will be a chance here: David Willey has swung the ball in matches in Delhi. Williamson said he didn't need to bother about that.

"They're very much ready to go," Williamson said. "Like I said, we still haven't decided on our side. We will be looking closely at the conditions and the history I suppose of what the wicket has produced and try and pick up a side."

It doesn't rule out the importance of the two main spinners, though. "Our spinners have been brilliant on surfaces that have suited spin bowling," Williamson said. "And perhaps the best track we played on in Mohali, they still played a big part. We're not quite sure what to expect. A few games have been played on it [the Delhi pitch] recently."

A phone kept buzzing, Williamson kept looking at the media manager, and then he provided the most fun answer when asked about the amount of travel New Zealand have had to undertake in playing all their four league matches at different venues. In Dharamsala they got their first look of the pitch on the day of the match. By comparison England have played only in two venues, both of which are hosting semi-finals.

"That's great," Williamson said. "We've been able to see more of India than most opposition sides. It's one of those things. Surely it just happened by co-incidence? They guys embraced it, embraced the flights and enjoyed the variety of hotels."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ian on March 30, 2016, 9:38 GMT

    Five previous T20 world cups have yielded five different winners. England, India and West Indies are all previous winners, but not NZ. So it's NZ's turn to win.the cup.

  • Ryan on March 30, 2016, 9:30 GMT

    Martin Guptill flying under the radar. Tipping him to rearrange England's backside, with a barnstorming hundred. Williamson will nurdle the other end and we'll finish a tidy 220/3.

  • Pradeep Kumar on March 30, 2016, 9:17 GMT

    new Zealand can win easily with 10 to 15 runs

  •   Duncan W Craig on March 30, 2016, 7:59 GMT

    guys guys guys, come on, put your cricket brains on. The moment is set for Ross Taylor to play a blinder. Mark my words. he had a good hit out in the last game. This is Rosco's moment. Sorry England. (I am half-Anglaise by the way).

  • Rahul on March 30, 2016, 5:12 GMT

    If POMs beat Kiwis it should count as an upset. KIWIs are in a serious form. The team selection is spot on, the replacement coming into the XI are performing the roles to the maximum, no hiccups, no hesitation and no anxiety has been shown. This team came up unscratched from what was perceived as a group of death. They beat every opponent comfortably. 3 subcontinental teams were defeated on pitches that suited them. All the credit needs to go to Kane and Hesson. Not ones have we seen anybody whining about missing their biggest impact player in Brendon. Brendon was their talisman, the match winner the skipper. A lot needs to be admired about this team.

  • hayden on March 30, 2016, 1:46 GMT

    Just remember, NZ had to go over & play their first game in Aus in 4 years in that world cup final. Had the final been played in NZ would they of won it? Who knows, but they undoubtedly would of had a much greater chance.

    I don't know of any other team in history who's first game in a country in 4 years has been the world cup final. They were always up against it.

  • sam on March 29, 2016, 17:06 GMT

    I want a turner for the semi-final at Delhi between England and NZ. No flat-tracks. Since, Delhi will always be low and slow (you can't change the nature of that Feroz Shah Kotla pitch) having a low, slow turner is better than a low, slow flat track.

  • Kumarpal on March 29, 2016, 14:43 GMT

    New Zealand have been a revelation ever since Brendon McCullum was made captain and Kane Williamson has continued the same inspirational legacy of Brendon McCullum by being an astute and attacking captain

  • ajith on March 29, 2016, 14:08 GMT

    One of my favourite cricketers and teams. Hope they win the semis

  • Tapthat on March 29, 2016, 14:08 GMT

    @andrewarthur sour grapes much? credit where credit's due mate

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