Play with freedom, Williamson tells off-colour NZ batsmen

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New Zealand captain Kane Williamson encouraged his frontline batsmen to play with freedom in Tuesday’s (July 9) semi-final against India to overcome their struggle for rhythm in the Cricket World Cup.

Not surprisingly, Williamson is New Zealand’s leading scorer after the group stage with 481 runs from eight matches at a 96-plus average.

The next Kiwi batsman in that list is veteran Ross Taylor, way down with 261 runs and an average of 37.28.

Williamson said his fellow batsmen had struggled to adjust to diverse English conditions where a winning total can vary greatly according to the state of the pitch on the day.

Williamson denied New Zealand were too reliant on him to give their bowlers a decent, defendable total.

New Zealand finished their group campaign with a hat-trick of defeats but still claimed the last semi-final berth.

The 2015 finalists will hope to begin afresh on Tuesday, their captain said.

“It all starts again where the day comes and anything can happen and all sides have beaten one another on a number of occasions throughout the last few years, so it is a really exciting opportunity for all teams,” Williamson told a news conference at Old Trafford.