Williamson confident of NZ's chances

New Zealand players are all ears as coach Gary Stead (second from right) gives a pep talk during Saturday’s nets session at Lord’s. Reuters

Regardless of which way the result goes on Sunday, New Zealand will go home with a piece of history. Apart from West Indies, Australia and Sri Lanka, they are the only team to have made the final in two successive editions. But Kane Williamson’s genial men will do everything they can to take home the trophy for the first time.

For a country so small, they have done remarkably well in global events, and victory will be a huge boost to the game in a nation where rugby rules the roost.     

“I guess anything’s possible,” said a smiling Williamson when asked what it means to any Kiwi who has held a bat or ball in his/her hand if New Zealand win on Sunday. “I guess when you take yourself back to that point in time, it feels like a long way away and you make a few small steps forward and you work pretty hard together as a group and next thing, you might find yourself here.

“And it’s obviously a really special occasion tomorrow and to be involved in a World Cup and representing your country, let alone to turn up here at the home of cricket and be involved in a final, is pretty special,” he offered.

Different challenge

A World Cup final, Williamson agreed, provides a different challenge and it’s a task to treat it as just another game.  

“Yes, any game that you play in you deal with different distractions and, naturally, in a World Cup final it brings other distractions and there is a lot more people here today and perhaps that may be one,” Williamson said.

“There are a whole bunch of other things where all different thoughts can go through your mind of potential realities, but certainly where (coach) Gary (Stead) and myself and all the group come from, it’s keeping your feet on the ground looking to play the sort of cricket you want to play to give yourself the best chance regardless of whether it’s a semifinal, a round-robin game or, fortunately enough now, to be in a final.”

Williamson also admitted that England openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow can be quite damaging in the first 10 overs which can prove decisive.

“Yeah, those two have been fantastic throughout this whole competition and prior as well. And I think we mentioned before, there are a number of other parts to perhaps playing in a World Cup final. But there is a huge amount of respect for the match-winners that they have within their side, obviously the top of the order and throughout.

“But the focus for us is very much about the cricket that we want to play and the performance we want to put on the board and if we do that, we have seen throughout this competition that anybody can beat anybody,” he observed.

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