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New Zealand Keen To Finish Strongly And Shore Up Semi-Final Spot

  • SPORT
  • 3 min read

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson tried to focus on the positives after his side’s loss to Pakistan in Saturday’s rain-hit World Cup game left them in a precarious position in the chase for a semi-final spot.

The fourth-placed Black Caps posted a mammoth 401-6 in 50 overs but faced the wrath of Pakistan batsman Fakhar Zaman who hit an 81-ball 126 before play was called off, meaning the Asian side prevailed by 21 runs via the DLS method.

New Zealand, the 2019 runners-up, now need to win their remaining match against Sri Lanka in Bengaluru to reach 10 points, and get a better net run rate than at least one of the other sides who can finish on that mark, to make the knockouts.

They can also end up with eight points, with a better net run rate than any of the other teams on the same points, but Williamson said they would try to finish strongly.

“I think the approach will be similar,” he said. “We can’t rely on other teams as you get down to some small margins of whether it’s run rate or your last match.

“Anything can happen but our focus is still on the cricket we want to keep playing and adjusting to what’s in front of us. We’ve done that in positive ways and also being challenged at certain times which you expect in these sorts of competitions.

“So, we can’t control what other people are doing but we can really focus on our next game and preparing well for that.”

Williamson was pleased with the efforts of his batsmen, with Rachin Ravindra making his third century of the tournament, but he did not fault the bowlers who faced Fakhar’s fury.

“The first half was a great effort — a lot of really good partnerships. The guys understood the surface was good, perhaps better than it appeared and we were able to get a competitive total — so we thought,” Williamson added.

“The guys in the second half tried hard. It was tough, the weather perhaps didn’t help but we can’t take anything away from the tasks that Pakistan had to try and achieve and they came out and played beautifully well.

“Obviously Zaman, when he’s going, not many grounds are big enough, but certainly this one wasn’t. And he just hit it to all parts. So credit to the way Pakistan came out and achieved what they did today.”

Reuters