New Zealand will take on England in the first semifinal of the 20-20 World Cup on November 10. It will be an opportunity for Williamson and his boys to seek revenge for the 2019 50-over World Cup heartbreak. However, it won’t be easy for them given the way England have played in the tournament. The team has been on a rampage and won four of their five games. Even in the loss against South Africa, they almost chased down the target of 190. It’s been a collective effort from the Three Lions.
England suffered a major blow ahead of the semifinal as Jason Roy was ruled out of the tournament owing to a calf injury. Earlier, Tymal Mills’ campaign also ended abruptly due to an injury. The New Zealand skipper feels the injuries are a blow to England but said the team has enough depth to make up for the losses.
“They’re both big players for England,” Williamson was quoted by ESPNcricinfo. “It’s a real shame that they have suffered injuries in this competition. But I think one of the strengths as well of the England side is their depth that they’ve managed to produce over a period of time. And having spent some time at the Birmingham Phoenix and being sort of a little bit involved in that 100-ball comp, you can tell that there’s a huge amount of talent throughout. They’re still very much a very strong side who have been playing some really good cricket.
“Whenever there’s an injury, there’s someone else who comes in and you’re not to know who they are until the toss. But you try to prepare and plan as best you can and then when you go out there, you’re sort of competing in the moment. And that’s kind of all that matters then. But Jason’s a big player for England and has been playing really nicely and getting the team off to good starts along with Jos [Buttler]. But, as I mentioned, the depth on the England side is one of their strengths and we’ll try and plan accordingly to the best of our ability. But largely [we] want to focus on the sort of cricket we want to play as a group and keep developing on that as we’ve been doing throughout this tournament.”
Meanwhile, New Zealand themselves have played some very good cricket. They lost their opening game to Pakistan but bounced back to stun India and then breezed past Scotland and Namibia before beating Afghanistan. The wickets in UAE haven’t been too much in favour of the batters which is evident from the average scores in the tournament. New Zealand themselves have struggled with the bat, but their bowlers, especially Trent Boult and Tom Southee have been exceptional. Boult is the joint highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 11 scalps, while Southee has given runs at an economy of less than 6.
Lauding the duo, Williamson said, “Yeah, they’ve been brilliant,” Williamson said. “They’ve been involved with the team in all formats over a long period of time and really experienced operators for us and experience in terms of playing in all different conditions and executing their skills beautifully and performing their roles to the highest standard. They’ve been doing a fantastic job for us, really leading our attack who have been performing well and adjusting well to the different surfaces we’ve been on and a real strength in our side.”