T20 WC: Afghanistan, a world-class side, admits Williamson

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 07, 2024 IST

Kane Williamson

Georgetown, June 7: In ICC ODI World Cup 2023, Afghanistan stunned bigger teams and created a few serious upsets. They missed the semi-finals race narrowly. 

Their recent performances have been far more better than what it was a few years back. All major teams would be aware of their potentials. In T2 format, they are a more danger side, with many match-winners in their team.

Ahead of New Zealand playing their first Group C match of T20 World Cup against Afghanistan at the Providence Stadium, captain Kane Williamson said players in his team are well-aware about the "capabilities and world-class skills" present in the Rashid Khan-led side.

Williamson added that Aghanistan are a well-balanced side with strong spin options along with seamers and batters as well.

"They're a team that has just grown and grown every year and certainly players that have been involved in some of the franchise cricket are well aware of the capabilities of the talent and the world-class skills that they have within their side. They've always had really strong spin options, but now they're a very well-balanced side with the seamers that they have and the batting as well. So, a tough challenge against a team that's playing well and growing a lot," said Williamson in the pre-match press conference.

"For us, we know that there are strong teams throughout this competition and often comes back to our cricket. We say that often, so it's about the cricket we want to play and focusing on our plans and roles that we have within our side," he added.

Asked about New Zealand’s preparations for the Afghanistan challenge, Williamson talked about lots of practising and keeping tabs on the World Cup games happening in Guyana.

"We've been predominantly training in the day and there are some large differences between day and night in terms of conditions. But from the couple of matches that have been played, it looks like a reasonable wicket, a good wicket, a fair wicket at the same time. Bit there for the bowlers but equally decent for the batters."

"There are a number of players that were involved in the IPL, and only a few were playing regularly so I suppose there were still opportunities to train and put time into your game which is nice," he said.

"But everybody's come from slightly different places whether that's having time off at home or other cricket around the world. So, when you come together as a team, it's always nice. You try and connect as a group again and start preparing for what's just around the corner, which obviously for some time has been happening for this major event.

New Zealand are yet to win a white-ball World Cup despite entering the knockouts or title clash in each of their last five global tournament appearances. But Williamson stressed upon taking things one day at a time and focusing on challenges presented to them on a particular match day.

"Some good memories for us, but don't count for too much in terms of coming to another event and the focus is on having to be the challenges that are in front of us and it's a slightly different format in terms of the competition layout. For us in our pool, it's trying to start well and put out strong performances.

"We know it's been maybe 10 days or so before our first match, but once we start, the matches come pretty thick and fast. So, it's trying to start well and build throughout and know that if we play well, then it gives us the best chance to get as far as we can in any tournament. So, we're looking forward to our first game tomorrow. Afghanistan are a very strong side and then (we are taking) just one game at a time," he concluded.

In ICC World Cups, the Kiwis are the side with best consistency. They might not have won an ICC World Cup, but they have been to the semi-finals and finals. But Kane Williamson and his team are pretty aware that Afghans can definitely surprise them on their day. (With IANS support)

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