Playing India would be challenging if New Zealand are fortunate to secure a semis berth: Kane Williamson – Times of India

NEW DELHI: New Zealand‘s captain, Kane Williamson, expressed on Thursday that facing hosts India in the semifinals would be a challenging prospect if his team is fortunate enough to secure a place in the World Cup semis.
Following their five-wicket victory against Sri Lanka in their final league stage match in Bengaluru, the Kiwis’ path to the semifinals appears secure.Barring significant wins for Pakistan and Afghanistan against England and South Africa, respectively, New Zealand seem poised to secure the last available semi-final berth in the World Cup.
In pursuit of 172 for victory, New Zealand successfully chased down the target in 23.2 overs, significantly bolstering their net run rate. This outcome leaves both Pakistan and Afghanistan facing a substantial challenge to secure the remaining spot in the semis.
Asked whether the Kiwis were looking forward to a last-four clash with India, Williamson said, “Playing semis is special but playing the home team will be challenging. Looking forward to it if we are fortunate enough to have it.”
Afghanistan will need to win by more than 400 runs against South Africa in Ahmedabad on Friday to surpass New Zealand on NRR, while Pakistan have to defeat England by a minimum of 287 runs in Kolkata on Saturday.
Assuming England are restricted to 150, Pakistan will have to knock off the runs in just 3.4 overs.

“There’s a few teams that could end up on similar points. (That is) not in our control. We will be having a couple of days off, not sure what’s happening,” was how Williamson summed up the situation, though he and his players would be extremely relaxed after a job well done.
Pacer Trent Boult, who won the ‘Player of the Match’ award for his 3/37, said it felt nice to contribute in a must-win game.
“Nice to get a bit of success at the top. A must-win game, the pleasure is about getting the result. It is a challenging part of the world to open the bowling. Nice to get a decent outing,” Boult said.
“Always the biggest challenge of coming here is different conditions. Conditions have changed throughout.”

ICC World Cup 2023: New Zealand beat Sri Lanka, are almost through to the semifinals

On facing India, if his side books a semis spot, the pacer said, “Everyone wants a piece of the strong home nation. Looking forward to it.”
Batter Rachin Ravindra credited his success to Williamson’s cool head. The Indian-origin cricketer, who is leading the run charts said, “I have idolised a lot like Virat Kohli, Steven Smith, Joe Root. But Kane… his leadership, on and off the field, just keeps it calm. When you are young, you take the game on, lucky to have come off.”
(With PTI inputs)

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