Former New Zealand cricketer Ross Taylor has revealed Kane Williamson’s boys were quite nervous heading into the ICC T20 World Cup Super-12 game against Australia on October 22, but their “nothing to lose” mind-set helped them come up with a clinical performance to thrash the hosts by 89 runs at SCG.
The Black Caps are on song having garnered five points in three games and are currently leading the Super 12 Group 1 with five points and a supremely healthy net run rate (NRR) of +3.850. With two more games to come after having thrashed Sri Lanka by 65 runs at Sydney on Saturday, they look on course to securing a last-4 berth like the 2021 edition of the mega event.
Williamson’s team had defeated England in the semifinal during the 2021 edition of the T20 World Cup in the UAE before losing the final to Australia.
Taylor, who is in touch with the team, said the players were nervous going into the Super 12 opener at SCG on October 22 but their “carefree attitude” played a huge role in the team starting their campaign on a roaring note.
“I always touch base with players and support staff, and they were nervous leading into that game (against Australia on Oct 22). But I think they went in with a carefree attitude, had almost nothing to lose and it helped them produce a clinical performance right from the top. Of course, this group of players have been around for a long time and know how to play in tournaments,” Taylor wrote in his column for ICC.
He added New Zealand’s success against Australia means they will be strong contenders for the World Cup.
“New Zealand are always in contention to win major tournaments and their victory over Australia suggests they are one of the teams to beat once again. Every Black Caps fan hoped that we would beat our great rivals but with our record there (in SCG) — last winning in any format in 2011 — we expected a hard match. However, Finn Allen set the tone up the top, put pressure on Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood and it was complemented well by Devon Conway,” added Taylor.
Taylor felt Australia were completely demoralised when New Zealand touched the 200-run mark.
“Even when Jimmy Neesham hit a six off the last ball, you could see Australia’s body language drop. Chasing 200 was always going to be tough but in the first match of the World Cup, it was definitely a massive statement. I’m sure New Zealand had the belief they could play like they did but the result definitely surprised a few people and, particularly, the Australian fans.
“I don’t know what it is about the New Zealand team over the last 15 or 20 years when it comes to tournaments, not a lot of people put their name as semi-finalists or finalists. However, they always seem to pull out good and consistent performances, and always do enough to make it to the latter stages. Hopefully, this is one of those times and they can go one better than they did last year,” opined Taylor.