As New Zealand prepares to take on India in a highly anticipated World Cup semi-final at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, Captain Kane Williamson is confident that his team's experience with partisan crowds will be an advantage. The stadium is expected to host over 33,000 spectators, predominantly supporting India.
Despite New Zealand being the losing finalists in the last two World Cups, with no trophy lift yet, Williamson believes the team's familiarity with playing in front of passionate crowds will serve them well. Reflecting on their semi-final clash against India four years ago, he acknowledged the significant difference in support that awaits them in Mumbai.
With his characteristic humour, Williamson responded to the reporter's mention of a predominantly blue-clad crowd by saying, "There'll be more than that." He acknowledged the special atmosphere that cricket in India brings and expressed appreciation for the unique opportunity to play in a World Cup semi-final against the host nation.
Williamson, who had faced uncertainties about his World Cup participation due to a series of injuries, described his journey as "interesting" and expressed gratitude for still being a part of the tournament. Having missed early matches due to a knee injury and later suffering a broken thumb, he marked his comeback with a crucial 95 against Pakistan.
The New Zealand captain downplayed the significance of India's victory in the pool match last month and the 2019 semi-final, emphasising that finals are a different ballgame where everything starts anew.
Williamson also praised rising star Rachin Ravindra, the 23-year-old left-handed opener who has made a significant impact in his debut World Cup with three centuries. He commended not only Ravindra's run-scoring ability but also his contribution to moving the team forward, acknowledging the young talent's impressive performance on the big stage.