New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson is seeing the ICC T20 World Cup as a learning experience for his side, and the final against Australia here later on Sunday will be “another opportunity” for his team to gain some more knowledge and move on to the next goal.
The lessons learnt from the ‘Super 12’ defeat against Pakistan were implemented in the games against India in the league phase and England in the semifinals.
“It’s been important that we’ve tried to grow and learn throughout, and I think we’ve seen that a little bit (here), and (the final) is another opportunity for that,” Williamson said during the post-match press conference ahead of the final.
With big days of cricket becoming commonplace for Williamson and his side in recent years, the team — which reached the 2015 World Cup Final, 2016 T20 World Cup semifinal and 2019 World Cup Final — would be aiming to take lessons from those disappointments to overcome their Trans-Tasman rivals on later on Sunday.
Earlier this year, they lifted the ICC World Test Championship trophy defeating India and would now like to add a white-ball trophy. The semifinal against England gave enough indication that the Black Caps can go the distance here.
“Our semifinal was an amazing game of cricket against a very strong side. We sort of managed to take the game deep, and there were a couple of outstanding contributions at the end that got us across the line from Daryl Mitchell and Jimmy Neesham which is fantastic,” said Williamson.
But their opponents in the final aren’t short of players capable of providing moments of brilliance of their own. Matthew Wade provided a reminder of that with his six-hitting feats to see Australia past Pakistan in their semifinal, while Adam Zampa continued his remarkable tournament, picking up his 12th dismissal to make him the highest wicket-taker from any side to have joined at the ‘Super 12’ stage.
“Zampa is a world-class bowler, one of the top in the world and complimented nicely by obviously some of the top seamers in the world,” Williamson said.
“As a side they have got a lot of match-winners, and you know, I think that’s a large part of the strength in their team throughout. They have got world-class cricketers.”
In their bid for a maiden World T20 title, the Kiwis have suffered an injury blow with wicketkeeper-batter Devon Conway being ruled out of the final with a fractured hand, a freak injury that he picked up by striking his bat in frustration when dismissed against England.
“Obviously the loss of Devon is a big one. You know, he’s been a big part of all formats for us, and you know, it’s a disappointing and really freak thing to happen. But for us it’s about keeping our focus on the task, and all the players are really excited with the opportunity to go out (in the final), and like I say, try to improve and adjust to what will be new, which is a different opposition and a different venue,” added Williamson.
A different opposition and a different venue will yield a different T20 World Cup champion, with neither of these sides yet to lift an ICC 20-over trophy in their history.