Williamson: We didn't play the better cricket

"It was a tough decision (to leave out Southee and Boult) but you go in and make the best decision you can on the side you want to pick. We certainly backed the XI we had on the park," the Kiwi captain insisted.

A dejected New Zealand captain Kane Williamson after his team's semifinal loss against England.   -  REUTERS

NEW DELHI: It started its World T20 campaign in style, thrashing India by 47 runs, before making the semifinals as the only unbeaten team in the competition. But the way New Zealand was dismantled by an explosive England only reiterated the fickle nature of T20 cricket where equations and reputations don't take long to change.

And Kane Williamson, the 25-year old leading the Black Caps in its first major competition post Brendon McCullum's retirement, learnt it the hard way. Favourite for the title early on, New Zealand lost yet another World Cup semifinal – it has managed to win just one, against South Africa in the ODIs last year, in nine appearances – but the captain insisted there was no jinx.

“Every game you play you look at it as an isolated event. You accept that when you turn up you want to play your best cricket but if the other team plays better then you tend to come second. That's what happened to us. We didn't play the better cricket. England was very, very good, as simple as that,” Williamson said, acknowledging the opponent's superiority on the day.

He added that the team had planned to take on the pace duo of Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes, England's go-to men at the death, but just couldn't execute it. At the same time, he defended his decision not to bring on spinners early, as he has tended to do so far, or continuing to bench Trent Boult and Tim Southee, probably the best new-ball pair in the world today, going back without a game.

“They (the plans) didn't quite unfold the way we liked. It's a fine line. There were a couple of full tosses. They certainly hit the yorkers really well. They were able to take wickets consistently...It didn't look like spinning much. Jason Roy had an outstanding game and took the game away from us...It was a tough decision (to leave out Southee and Boult) but you go in and make the best decision you can on the side you want to pick. We certainly backed the XI we had on the park,” the Kiwi captain insisted.

England opener Jason Roy, who struck a 44 ball-78, admitted the team had struggled with a lot of negativity coming into the tournament but hoped its performances had silenced the naysayers. Looking forward to the final at Eden Gardens, the 25-year old said the team was preparing for a mind-blowing experience.

“I don't think the boys realise what they've achieved. After the first game the final seemed pretty far away but the amount of effort we put in has paid off. Today was as good as it probably gets in winning a T20 game. It's the most mind-blowing experience of my life to date. It's pretty cool. Just another game of cricket, it just happens to be at Eden Gardens in the World Cup final in front of 100,000 people,” he said with an impish smile.

Despite his solo act that propelled England, Roy said the team had more than one player to do the job. “The batting complements each other. We bat deep, our number 10 has a 40-ball 100 in county cricket so any of us can hit the ball well. The whole team has got that kind of licence, that kind of opportunity to go out there and do what they want and be free with their skills,” Roy said after his career-best score in T20I.

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