Williamson: England rightly deserves to be the favourite

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, at the World Cup 2019 final pre-match press conference, made fun of the ‘under-dog’ tag bequeathed to the side.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson admitted the Bairstow-Roy threat but felt that there was no need to be overwhelmed.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson admitted the Bairstow-Roy threat but felt that there was no need to be overwhelmed.   -  Getty Images

Absorbing pressure and having a laugh about it seems second-nature to Kane Williamson. The New Zealand captain conceded that England is the favourite ahead of the World Cup final, during a press-conference at Lord’s in London on Saturday but in the same breath, insisted that anything could happen.

Witty and relaxed, he also made fun of the ‘under-dog’ tag bequeathed to New Zealand: “England rightly deserves to be the favourite. But whatever dog we are, it's just important that we focus on the cricket that we want to play and we have seen over the years that anybody can beat anybody regardless of the breed of dog.”

When another correspondent queried whether New Zealand would love to be England’s party-poopers at Lord’s, Williamson smiled and said: “Party-poopers? You talking about dogs again, hey? (smiling) underdogs? Look, we are really looking forward to the occasion and when you go into any match, you have to deal with a number of different things, be it pressure or momentum.”

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England has relished its adrenaline dripping starts unleashed by openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow and Williamson admitted the threat but felt that there was no need to be overwhelmed: “Those two have been fantastic throughout this competition and prior as well. There is a huge amount of respect for the match-winners that England has, obviously the top of the order and throughout. But the focus for us is very much about the cricket that we want to play and we have seen throughout this competition that anybody can beat anybody.”

Probed about how he deals with wins and losses, the visitor’s skipper revealed his equanimity: “I prefer winning than losing. That is probably the best way to say it. Any experience is an opportunity to learn and sometimes tough experiences, being on the wrong side of results, can sometimes slap you in the face and give you a glaring lesson and if you ignore that, I don't think that is a positive thing, so treating both the outcomes with respect and trying to learn from them is the best part.”

But is the pressure entirely on England? Williamson, impish smile in place, countered: “We are quite keen on winning as well. There are different bits of pressure on anybody, whether you are favourites or not.”