Manchester: Kane Williamson’s latest World Cup batting masterclass proved just enough to trump a stunning century from Carlos Brathwaite as New Zealand beat the West Indies by five runs in a World Cup thriller on Saturday.
The West Indies were all but defeated at 164 for seven, chasing 292 to win after Black Caps skipper Williamson led a recovery from 7-2 with a career-best 148 to take New Zealand to 291-8.
Brathwaite’s remarkable hundred nearly saw the West Indies to an incredible success at Old Trafford. But with six needed from seven balls, Brathwaite launched Jimmy Neesham for what he hoped would be the winning hit, only for Trent Boult to take a superbly judged catch just inside the long-on boundary.
Brathwaite sank to his knees in despair after falling for 101 off just 82 balls, including five sixes and nine fours, having dominated a last-wicket stand of 41 in which he scored all the runs. Victory saw New Zealand return to the top of the table and all but secure their place in the semi-finals as a heart-breaking defeat left the West Indies on the verge of elimination.
Adjudged as the man of the match, Williamson said, “Obviously, West Indies are incredibly dangerous. Not the best of starts, they got the ball to swing which made life incredibly difficult. They bowled in the right areas for a lengthy amount of time, the ball did a bit, we did well to put on partnerships which helped us post a decent total on the board. It didn’t do anything like that in the second innings though, but a great game of cricket.”
On his knock of 148, he said, “I wanted to be clear in my mind, wanted to play according to the merit of the ball, make the best possible decisions and play according to the situation of the game”
Speaking about the catch by Trent Boult that dismissed Carlos Brathwaite, he said “He has got very good hands (on the Boult catch to dismiss Brathwaite). We did put a few down and wasn’t our best fielding effort. That paved way for a close contest I suppose. Those sort of games are good for the crowd, Very fortunate to be on the right side of the result. Was a brilliant game and a lot of learning for us before we move into the next match.”
Jason Holder, the West Indies skipper said, “It was a tough game. I am proud of the guys, especially Carlos (Brathwaite), he played very good innings. Chris (Gayle) set the tone for us. Lots of positives despite the defeat. You can pinpoint to a couple of areas. One or two areas, we looked pretty poor. But we did well to fight back at various times. You can’t fault the efforts of the guys.”
Asked about his team’s chances of making it to the semis, he said, “Win all, three hopefully, we have to play for pride.”