NZ v Pakistan, 2nd T20I, Hamilton January 17, 2016

Williamson lauds 'smart cricket' on asymmetrical Seddon Park

Twenty fours and four sixes were struck between them, but "smart cricket" was the cornerstone of the searing opening stand between himself and Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson said.

The pair hit a world record 171 in each other's company, to make light work of Pakistan's 168 for 7. Williamson said it had been he and his partner's ability to account for the asymmetrical dimensions of the Hamilton ground, and the particular strengths of Pakistan's bowlers, that allowed the stand to flourish.

Damage to the Seddon Park square during the recent Test match featuring Sri Lanka had meant a surface towards the eastern end of the block had to be used for this T20. This in turn brought the eastern boundary to 52 metres, while the square boundary on the other side of the pitch was lengthened to 75 metres.

Williamson in particular targeted the short side of the ground during his career-best 72 off 48 balls, memorably shuffling towards the off side to hit consecutive legside fours off Mohammad Amir, in the fifth over.

"No T20 is the same, and here at Seddon Park you're not just taking the opposition into account, you're very much identifying the dimensions of the ground, the pitch and using that as part of your planning," Williamson said. "That comes into your thinking as a bowling unit and a batting unit.

"With one boundary very small, naturally there's going to be the odd boundary hit there. Then there's the wind going to the long boundary which also helps hit to that side of the ground."

New Zealand hit 59 from the Powerplay, but were unusually reticent against Shahid Afridi in that period, scoring only 11 off his two overs. Williamson said there had been purchase and turn for Afridi on the pitch. Afridi was also generating significant drift.

"Afridi is a world class legspinner," Williamson said. "Today on that surface it was holding and turning a little bit, so for us it was making sure that there's smart cricket at times amongst Guptill's sixes and fours.

"All Pakistan's bowlers are danger men - they are all very good bowlers. Depending on the surface, some more than others. It was important that Guptill and I communicated and played some smart cricket. I think we were a bit better at doing that today than we were in the last match."

Williamson and Guptill's stand surpassed the 170 made by Loots Bosman and Graeme Smith against England. New Zealand's highest T20 partnership before this game had been the 137 against Zimbabwe by the same pair in 2012.

"Records are not something that we set out to do," Williamson said. "We set out to lay a platform and play to the gameplan. If records come that's nice, but more importantly, we got across the line to set up a nice finish to the T20 series."

Corey Anderson had played as a specialist batsman during the Sri Lanka series, as he continues to recover from a back injury. He has now begun bowling in matches, and was effective for New Zealand on Sunday, taking 1 for 26 from his four overs. He had been cheap with the new ball, conceding only 12 from his three Powerplay overs.

"The likes of Corey standing up after not playing much cricket, and opening the bowling as well, was a superb effort from him," Williamson said. "He bowled some tough overs at the top."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Subash on January 19, 2016, 11:56 GMT

    Very rarely do you see a batsmen look so graceful and elegant in all 3 formats of the game. Kane is the perfect example for youngsters that you can play the modern format without abandoning the fundamentals of batting manual. You don't need to be Gayle, Warner, AB or Guptil to have a strike rate of 130. For a guy his age Kane looks so composed and mature at the crease. Its just a pleasure to watch him bat at all formats of the game.

  • Muhammad Ghazali on January 18, 2016, 8:29 GMT

    this is how the great cricketer appreciate others.. u r great player as well as better understanding of the game cricket... well, I would say u have nice footwork like Javaid miadad.. the way u were playing in last T20 was copy of Javaid Miadad... next match will be tuff.. good luck team Pakistan

  • Atif Masood on January 18, 2016, 4:06 GMT

    well I am sure Pakistan will come back hard.

  • Pundit on January 18, 2016, 3:46 GMT

    Hallmark of a great player with brains. Pak always tactically will falter as opposition understand their game. That's why they are on in one off matches, but struggle in a series.

    Don't also under estimate these NZ school,cricket grounds, unless you play all,the time, they are very difficult to play on for both bowlers and batters.

  • Alex on January 17, 2016, 23:24 GMT

    You can't score against afridi. Admit that. Play him only for singles. Just hit other bowlers. You can beat pakistan comfortably. Afridi as bowler is 100 times more dangerman than batsman.

  • Cricinfouser on January 17, 2016, 21:38 GMT

    You've gotta love Captain Kane! What a Stirling example of a New Zealander. Beautiful to watch and gracious on and off the field. I believe he is the next Tendulkar. Long may he grace the world's pitches!

  • Blake on January 17, 2016, 12:01 GMT

    Humble in victory and gracious in defeat - Kane Williamson.

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