New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson has acknowledged that playing the second phase of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 in UAE did help in understanding the conditions better heading into the ongoing T20 World Cup.
Initially, Williamson’s viewpoint was that Asian teams would have a clear advantage in UAE conditions but participating in the IPL made him realise that margins are fine.
New Zealand will face England in the first semi-final of the T20 World Cup 2021 in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday (November 10).
“The IPL and I suppose the other franchise comps, but certainly add a lot to the knowledge of the players from all countries,” Williamson said at the pre-match press conference.
“And also add to the experience of being able to share and I think we’ve seen in this tournament and we certainly saw in the second half of the IPL the variability and the surfaces which, perhaps lent itself more naturally to certain sides. But you sort of in the moment you compete in different games and the margins are fine.”
According to Williamson, T20 is a format where any team could beat anybody and he feels fortunate to finish the Super 12 stage in the second position.
“We know coming into this tournament that truly any team could beat anybody and we sort of saw that throughout the competition and there are some sides that perhaps were favourites coming into it. And we’re fortunate on the day but I suppose that’s tournament sport as well.
“So it’s great we feel fortunate to have got through the stages and been playing some reasonable cricket and we want to continue to,” the Kiwi captain said.
Williamson led New Zealand for the first time in an ICC event at the 2016 T20 World Cup and he believes a lot has changed since then.
“There have been some really good steps forward and this tournament compared to the last one, I suppose a few new faces and a real mixture of that sort of youth and experience.
“But, yeah, it’s been a nice journey, I suppose from five years ago. And it’s nice to be here and be involved in the semi-finals. But the guys are really looking forward to the challenge and want to continue to focus on the cricket that we’ve been playing and try and improve on it.”
Williamson also showered rich praise on the pace duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee, who have been instrumental to New Zealand’s success.
“They’ve been brilliant. They’ve been involved in the team in all formats for a long time and really experienced operators for us. And experienced in terms of playing in all different conditions,” he said.
“And have been executing their skills beautifully and performing their realize to the highest standards. They’ve been doing a fantastic job for us, really leading our attack who have been performing well and adjusting well to the different surfaces that we’ve been on. And a real strength on our side.”
Kane Williamson is aware of the threat England possess, having a number of match-winners in their team.
“Look, they’ve got match winners throughout their team. And that’s been a big, I suppose, movement of their white ball side. Power packed and bat deep as well.
“I spent quite a bit of time with Liam (Livingstone) at Birmingham Phoenix, played superbly well through the 100 ball competition. There are a number of threats and number of match winners. We also have a number of match winners as well,” Williamson said.