Sport Cricket ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Australia knows quieting NZ’s Williamson is key to victory

ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Australia knows quieting NZ’s Williamson is key to victory

New Zealand's Kane Williamson in full flight at the World Cup. Photo: Getty
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Australia’s bowlers will aim to dry up Kane Williamson’s run-scoring opportunities in a bid to get on top of New Zealand in Saturday night’s World Cup match.

Williamson has been one of the hardest batsman of this year’s World Cup to dismiss, having hit 414 runs in the tournament at an average of 138.

His 333 runs made between outs earlier in the the tournament was also a World Cup record, having hit back-to-back centuries against South Africa and the West Indies.

“He’s been on fire. He’s a world-class performer in all formats of the game,” Australia’s captain Aaron Finch said.

“He’s as good as anyone in the world and with Kane you have to be really disciplined with your line and length.

He’s so damaging if you bowl wide, and he’s so good off his pads that your length has to be really, really disciplined. You have to try and dry him up.

“It’s like all great players they don’t have a huge amount of weaknesses, and on pitches that don’t bounce a huge amount it’s tougher to get that nick.”

Australia will at least believe it has the bowlers to quiet him.

Pat Cummins has sent down the most dot balls in this year’s World Cup with batsmen unable to score off 62 per cent of his deliveries.

Mitchell Starc also ranks fourth, with the pair having sent down nine maidens between them.

Williamson also has the lowest strike-rate of any batsman to have scored above 210 runs at this year’s tournament.

Finch himself knows Williamson well, having spent two seasons with him at Yorkshire in 2014 and 2015.

“He was a world-class Test batsman at that stage,” Finch said.

“His one-day game over the last three or four years has probably gone to a new level as well.

“What stood out was just the way he carried himself with the bat, nothing flustered him.”

Australia’s coach Justin Langer also said his team would be spending the final days of their preparation studying the 28-year-old.

“He’s a bit like Joe Root, Steve Smith and Virat Kohli,” Langer said.

“One of the trends of world cricket is if you go deep you win most games. And he can take the game deep because he is such a technically good player.”