Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 July 2019

Group defeats no bother to New Zealand captain Kane Williamson ahead of Cricket World Cup final

Black Caps lost to both potential Cricket World Cup final opponents England and Australia in the group phase

Kane Williamson led New Zealand to an 18-run win over India on Wednesday to reach the 2019 Cricket World Cup final. Reuters
Kane Williamson led New Zealand to an 18-run win over India on Wednesday to reach the 2019 Cricket World Cup final. Reuters

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson insisted the fact his side lost to potential Cricket World Cup final opponents Australia and England earlier in the tournament would have no bearing on Sunday's showpiece match at Lord's.

The Black Caps, who only reached the last four on net run-rate, upset the odds to beat group table-toppers India by 18 runs in a dramatic semi-final at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

And after what New Zealand media quickly dubbed "The Manchester Miracle", the understated Williamson insisted the 2015 runners-up had every chance of going one better and winning their first World Cup title.

Williamson is confident despite an 86-run defeat by Australia - the team that beat New Zealand in the final four years ago - and a 119-run loss to England in the initial 10-team group stage.

"Every game throughout the round-robin was worth a couple of points so they were all important," Williamson said.

"Obviously a semi-final is worth a few more than two points. But, you know, we'll go into another match and try to implement similar things that are important to our side, that gives us the best chance of success.

"... But we turn up on the day and anybody can beat anybody. It's important that feet are on the ground and we look forward to that challenge."

Asked what this win would mean for cricket in New Zealand, where rugby union's world champion All Blacks dominate the sporting scene, Williamson said: "I don't think it will change the number one sport.

"I'm sure people back home are pretty excited and, you know, another great opportunity to play in a World Cup final.

"Only every four years do you get the opportunity to play in a World Cup, let alone make a final," added Williamson, as wives and girlfriends of the New Zealand squad, many clad in replica shirts, together with some of the players' children, mingled on the outfield at Old Trafford.

"But at the same time, we just want to reflect on the good things we did in this match and the things we want to improve on."

Updated: July 11, 2019 11:24 AM

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