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Kane Williamson wary of ‘power packed’ England

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ABU DHABI: New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson on Tuesday lauded England’s depth as a Twenty20 side and said they would be strong opponents in the World Cup semi-final despite injuries to key players.

Both teams have won four games each of their five in the Super 12 stage and fight for a final spot in a game that brings back memories of their dramatic 2019 50-over World Cup final won by England.

The Kiwis have since clinched the inaugural world Test championship this year and have performed consistently well across all formats.

Eoin Morgan’s England have been the team to beat in the competition but injuries to fast bowler Tymal Mills and Jason Roy which could unsettle their combination.

“It’s a real shame that they have suffered injuries in this competition. But I think one of the strengths as well of the England side is their depth that they’ve managed to produce over a period of time,” Williamson told reporters.

“Having spent some time at the Birmingham Phoenix and being sort of a little bit involved in that 100 ball competition and you can tell that there’s a huge amount of talent throughout.

“They’re still very much a very strong side who have been playing some really good cricket.”

Williamson said, “Look, they’ve got match winners throughout their team. And that’s been a big, I suppose, movement of their white ball side. Power packed and bat deep as well.”

Williamson agreed Roy’s absence affected how New Zealand would have otherwise planned against England’s explosive top order.

“Whenever there’s an injury, someone else comes in and you’re not to know who they are until the toss,” Williamson said. “But you try and prepare and plan as best you can and then when you go out there you’re sort of competing in the moment.

“Jason’s a big player for England and has been playing really nicely and getting the team off to good starts along with Jos [Buttler]. But as I mentioned, the depth on the England side is one of their strengths and we’ll try and plan accordingly to the best of our ability.”

New Zealand’s strength has been their pace duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee who have rattled the opposition with their early strikes in the group stages.

Boult and Southee share 18 wickets between them and lead a disciplined New Zealand bowling attack that has complemented their batting.

“They’ve been brilliant. They’ve been involved in the team in all formats for a long time and really experienced operators for us,” Williamson said of the pace pair.

“They’ve been doing a fantastic job for us, really leading our attack who have been performing well and adjusting well to the different surfaces that we’ve been on. And a real strength on our side.”

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2021

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