NZ targeting 'complete performance' - Williamson
Kane Williamson has said that New Zealand would target a "complete performance" for the first time in the tournament as they attempt to secure a World T20 semi-final spot by beating Sri Lanka on Monday.
Brendon McCullum's side have won two of their three games but could have made their position even stronger if they had managed to put away South Africa when they needed seven runs off the final over with five wickets in hand. Williamson was far from bullish about New Zealand's chances of beating the No. 2-ranked side but said he hoped the team would play to their considerable potential in what is effectively a quarter-final.
"The nature of T20 is there's a lot of things you can't control and it one or two players step up, then we can beat anyone and we certainly have the players to do that," Williamson said. "We'll be going into the game with confidence and we have personnel to win this game. We know Sri Lanka have a very good side and have been playing good cricket throughout the group stage.
"We're yet to put together the complete performance that we know we're capable of, so if we can keep working on what we have been doing it would be nice to put it together tomorrow."
Williamson has quietly impressed after being recalled to the team as an opener and is currently New Zealand's leading scorer. McCullum, who became the first man to pass 2000 T20 international runs in their last game, also appears to be easing into gear, hitting a match-winning 65 to set up victory against Netherlands and keep the team on track for the last four.
"When Brendon comes out he tends to play the game we all know he can and he plays in that style no matter what," Williamson said. "Coming in at three you have that freedom, which is what we want from our best T20 player. It's been great he's coming up with a few performances, hopefully he can continue that."
New Zealand's recent record in T20 against Sri Lanka is not in their favour, without a win since 2010 and beaten in a Super Over at the last World T20. Williamson said they taken note of England's successful chase on Thursday, when the evening dew severely hampered Sri Lanka's spinners.
"They played outstandingly in that game," Williamson said. "We've played Sri Lanka a lot before but playing in these night-time games here it's a different game with the dew factor. The ball seems to skid on more and get quite wet, so there's all those things to consider. England showed the perfect way to chase down a big total against a very good bowling attack, so it would be great to be able to copy that."
England also successfully neutered Lasith Malinga, leaving him wicketless in a T20 international for the first time in more than a year. Malinga will also have the added burden of captaincy to deal with against New Zealand, after Dinesh Chandimal's suspension for slow over rates.
"He's one of the best T20 bowlers in the world, particularly with his death overs, so we'll have our plans and he's always a challenge," Williamson said. "If we can execute those plans and take him for as many as possible while limiting the damage then that will be a successful stint against him. We have plans against all bowlers so if we can put together the complete performance with the bat, we still feel we can get a strong total or chase one down."
Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here