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Three things we learned: Kane Williamson more than just a batsman

Kane Williamson of New Zealand and Steve Smith of Australia meet for the toss during the ICC World Twenty20 match. Photo / Getty Images.
Kane Williamson of New Zealand and Steve Smith of Australia meet for the toss during the ICC World Twenty20 match. Photo / Getty Images.

Three things we learnt from New Zealand's eight-run win over Australia at the World T20.

1. Kane Williamson is more than just a batsman

New Zealand's tactical nous was impressive. On a smaller ground than Nagpur, where they defeated India by 47 runs, Williamson kept the spinners - himself, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi - out of the attack until the end of the six-over powerplay.

Yet the confidence in spin saw him bring each on against bespoke opponents. The left-arm orthodox Santner and leg spinner Sodhi were predominantly used to take the ball away from the right-handers; off spinner Williamson brought himself on early to bowl an over to left-handers Usman Khawaja and David Warner.

Sodhi and Santner again excelled with 21 dots from 48 deliveries - Santner's ability to get Steve Smith stumped by turning a ball past him was the bowling highlight and a pivotal moment.

It saw Australian coach Darren Lehmann sit up straighter than a yogi.

New Zealand's strategy team appear to have lost little of their chutzpah in the absence of Brendon McCullum.

Radio Sport's Matt Brown talks to Grant Elliott:

2. Mitchell McClenaghan deserved his recall

The world's fifth-ranked T20 bowler came back at the expense of all-rounder Nathan McCullum and dissolved any pangs of anxiety when he delivered the 19th over of Australia's innings.

It proved the clincher with three runs conceded and two wickets taken. A series of slower balls helped remove set batsmen Mitchell Marsh and Ashton Agar. McClenaghan finished with three for 17 from three overs and earned man-of-the-match.

His inclusion raised a hypothetical question: What odds would you have got at the start of the tournament to suggest New Zealand would beat India and Australia after leaving out Trent Boult and Tim Southee?

3. What World T20?

Yes, Dharamsala is a magical venue at the foot of the Himalaya, so much so that it was like David Copperfield had waved his wand to make the crowd disappear.

Granted, weather patterns can be fickle at the venue. Forecast rain and thunderstorms turned into a perfect alpine day, but that misjudgment is not reason enough to explain the swathes of fluorescent seating still visible. This looks more like an indictment against the tournament's planning. How could there be empty seats for a match in cricket-loving India between last year's World Cup finalists?

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