Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Cricket: Williamson Black Caps' vital anchor

Kane Williamson has anchored the hosts' two totals in the Indian series with scores of 71 and 77. Photo / Getty Images
Kane Williamson has anchored the hosts' two totals in the Indian series with scores of 71 and 77. Photo / Getty Images

Kane Williamson seems an invisible hero at times amid the dashing strikers of the New Zealand one-day team's top order.

The 23-year-old has anchored the hosts' two totals in the Indian series with scores of 71 and 77.

He has been dismissed at 161 for three and 174 for three respectively, enabling the team to meet expectations of being no more than three wickets down at the 35-over mark where NZ wins more one-day international cricket than they lose.

His efforts have enabled the middle and lower order hitters to flourish in that proven formula.

Last night was the 11th time Williamson has passed 50 in 46 ODI innings. Theories parroted about him being solely a test player must cease. Textbook strokemaking doesn't necessarily make a slow scorer. Yes, his ODI strike rate (78.12) is less than anyone else in the top six - Corey Anderson has (159.38), Jesse Ryder (95.02), Brendon McCullum (90.44), Ross Taylor (81.90) and Martin Guptill (81.06) - but only Taylor (27 per cent of the time) and Guptill (27.8 per cent) pass 50 more often than Williamson (23.9 per cent).

Captain McCullum recognises his value. "You can't help but be pleased by how we're constructing batting partnerships through the likes of Kane and Ross early on [they put on 60 for the third wicket]. Martin's hand [44] also helped build the platform to launch our batting blueprint. It worked again [last night] under pressure which is big for our confidence."

Williamson is comfortable with his role. "We've got the two big boys up front playing shots but 50 overs can be a long time. You want to make sure you've got wickets in hand so you can use your power down low."

Williamson's form hasn't been restricted to ODIs. Since the arrival of the West Indies, he has scored 45, 56 and 58 to average 53 in tests and eight, 47 and 16 in the ODIs he played against the West Indies.

He backed up with 79 not out in Northern Districts HRV Cup twenty20 semi-final last week, also at Seddon Park. That innings enabled the hosts to progress to a victorious final.

McCullum also reflected on the efforts of Anderson, who again stunned with 44 off 17 balls and two wickets for 67 from 7.3 overs:

"His batting was brilliant again. He can be so damaging when he gets momentum. He didn't start that well with the ball but we've got to keep giving him and others opportunities otherwise they never get a chance to learn either."

- NZ Herald

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