New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, who struck a composed unbeaten century on one of the slowest tracks of the World Cup so far, believes the experience of playing here will hold his team in good stead.
Chasing a target of 242 in 49 overs in rain-truncated match against South Africa, New Zealand recovered from a mini-slump at 137 for five riding on a 91-run stand between Williamson (106 not out off 138 balls) and Collin de Grandhomme (60 off 47 balls) to reach home with three balls to spare here on Wednesday.
“It’s just really nice to build those sorts of partnerships with that lower-middle order that was so important, and having that experience in those sorts of situations as a collective is a really beneficial thing,” Williamson said after the match.
“There’s been a number of varying scores throughout this competition. I suppose weather has had a little bit to do with it but we’ve been on a variety of surfaces and it’s been nice that guys have adapted well,” he added.
While South Africa kept losing wickets at regular intervals and was ultimately restricted to what appeared to be a below-par score, Williamson was able to dig in, facing 138 balls. The captain, however, refused to rate his innings.
“I don’t really rank innings, but each time you can try and go out and contribute to a winning performance is something that you’re always wanting to do, and it was nice I was able to achieve that,” he said.
Neither teams were able to score freely on a slow and not easy to negotiate track, with De Grandhomme being the only exception.
Heaping praise on De Grandhomme, Williamson said: “The partnership and the knock from Colin was outstanding in terms of swinging that momentum, and he hit the ball beautifully. Perhaps coming in fresh rather than trying to negotiate the surface prior might have been a positive thing.”
The next match at Old Trafford against the West Indies is likely to provide a very different challenge but Williamson believes his team has shown its ability to adapt to different conditions as they remain unbeaten.
“We also know that we’ve got a number of games left on different surfaces. We’ll be back here again at some point.
“We won’t know the difference that will hold for us, but we’ll also have Manchester, where we go next, and once again, I know that’s been playing well,” said the 28-year-old.
Williamson said they would have to keep on adapting during the tournament depending on opposition and surfaces.
“We know that coming into the back-end of the tournament, there will be some extremely tough games on different wickets again, and we’ll have to wait and see what they hold for us.
“We’ll just have to adapt and keep playing the sort of cricket that gives us the best opportunity to win cricket games, but day in, day out, that can vary a lot depending on opposition and surfaces,” said Williamson.