New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson. — Reuters/File
  • New Zealand skipper says T20 World Cup match between the two teams “will be played in right spirits”.
  • The skipper says it was a “disappointing” situation when the tour was called off.
  • “I think Pakistan has come to the T20 World Cup full of confidence,” Williamson says.

SHARJAH: New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson Monday said that both Pakistan and New Zealand enjoy good relations and the T20 World Cup match between the two teams “will be played in right spirits.”

His comments came after Williamson was asked if he feels there will be some acrimony or any grudges during the match due to the situation that arose after New Zealand had abandoned Pakistan’s tour last month.

The skipper said that it was a “disappointing” situation when the tour was called off.

“I know the team members were very much looking forward to the occasion and playing cricket in Pakistan, and it was “a real shame” that it wasn’t able to go ahead,” he said on the eve of the match.

“The focus now is here at the T20 World Cup, and no doubt after last night’s performance, Pakistan have some momentum and are feeling pretty good about their cricket,” he said.

“But there are also a lot of good relations within the two teams. Over the years, they have played a lot against each other, and several players have played with each other, as well. I am sure it will be played in the right spirit,” Williamson said.

He also praised the Pakistani squad for its remarkable performance against India saying that the Babar Azam-led team has proved why they are one of the favourites to win the tournament.

“It was a fantastic performance. I think Pakistan has come to the T20 World Cup full of confidence, having played in these conditions more than most. 

“They certainly put it on the show last night and showed why they are one of the favourites in the competition,” he said shedding light on Pakistan’s performance against India.

“Tomorrow, I am sure they’ll be very strong again, so, for us, it is focusing on the cricket that we want to play and trying to adjust to conditions,” he added.

Replying to a question, the skipper said that Pakistan has got a very well-balanced side, and also a great mix between youngsters and experienced players — with Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik in the middle order which brings a lot of experience to the side.

“You mentioned Rizwan and Babar at the top of the order who have been formidable in terms of their partnership and the quality that they bring. A very well-balanced side and also a side that is accustomed to the playing conditions and playing cricket here in the UAE,” he said.

“Without a doubt, they are coming into this tournament feeling pretty good about their chances, but having said that, in sports and particularly in T20 cricket, every team, I think, turns up with confidence knowing that on their day, anything can happen,” the New Zealand captain said.

Williamson added that it will be about focusing on the style of cricket that his team wants to play, which is important to them as a team.

“We know we’re coming up against a very strong team in Pakistan, and I think every opposition that you play against, you prepare as well as you can to take them on at their best.

“We saw the best out of Pakistan in their last match against India, which was a fantastic performance,” he mentioned.

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