Cricket: Skipper happy as batting anchor

By David Leggat

Williamson keeps calm as fireworks goes off from partners at the other end of pitch
Black Caps batsman Martin Guptill. Photo / Alan Gibson
Black Caps batsman Martin Guptill. Photo / Alan Gibson

Amid Black Caps cricketers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro's early batting pyrotechnics in the two T20 wins against Sri Lanka, spare a thought for the guy at the other end.

While Guptill and Munro have filled their boots in spectacular style, they had a partner, the same batsman going about his business in an unfussy, but still highly effective way.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson scored 53 off 42 balls at Mt Maunganui while Guptill was slamming 58 in 34 deliveries; at Eden Park, Williamson was on 32 off 21 balls when the stunning nine-wicket win was achieved in exactly 10 overs. Guptill had struck 63 in 25 balls; Munro 50 not out off a barely believable 14.

Williamson's numbers have been good - 85 runs off 63 balls - but dwarfed by comparison with his partners' performances.

Now consider that while Munro's international T20 strike rate is 153.33 (he's faced only 210 bal1s so is not in the accompanying table), Williamson actually has a higher rate than Guptill, Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott of New Zealand's leading batsmen in the T20 squad.

It simply proves there's more than one way to be a highly effective T20 batsman.

So while Guptill and Munro blast long and hard, Williamson is more likely to drive, cut, glance, nurdle and bunt his runs, but still at a merry clip. Call it different strokes.

"My role is to play my game," Williamson said yesterday.

"The way Guptill's going, it's brilliant. I need to adapt to make sure our partnership is doing what the team requires. That's what it's about."

Williamson knows his role may change from game-to-game.

Some days it will be about feeding as much strike as possible to his partner; on others it may be to take on some of the responsibility of finding, and clearing, the boundary more often himself.

Pakistan will present different challenges to New Zealand's batsmen in the three T20s which start their tour, beginning at Eden Park tomorrow night.

"We're going to sit down and have a look at their bowlers - make sure we scout appropriately," Williamson said.

"We'll come up with some plans for certain players, which we think is important.

"We still maintain that if we focus on our skills and play our best cricket, that holds us in good stead. [But] we'll look to do our homework."

And Williamson reiterated there's no concerns about the lack of opportunities for the middle and lower order batsmen so far this season in the T20s.

"That's a good problem to have. They are all very experienced.

"From our perspective it's been a good thing.

"We've played some good cricket and come out on top. When they get the opportunity they will be ready," said Williamson.

T20 strike rates

New Zealand's batting strike rates in T20 internationals

Colin Munro - 153.33

Luke Ronchi1 - 44.60

Corey Anderson - 128.94

Kane Williamson - 128.90

Martin Guptill - 127.38

Ross Taylor - 120.47

Grant Elliott - 101.19

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 23 Feb 2017 18:31:07 Processing Time: 468ms