By Niall Anderson in Birmingham
Black Caps captain Kane Williamson has revealed he suspected he would be fined for his side's slow over-rate against the West Indies – but prioritised winning the game over his own personal predicament.
Williamson was fined 20 per cent of his match fee after being ruled to be one over short of the Black Caps' required minimum over-rate target in their five-run Cricket World Cup win over the West Indies. The larger concern, however, is that Williamson will be slapped with a one-game suspension if he breaches the rule again during the tournament.
But, while acknowledging it was an unfortunate situation, Williamson revealed to NZME he knew he was likely to be fined for the slow going at the end of the game, but was willing to take the punishment if it meant his side had a better chance of winning the clash.
"There are a number of parts to it and the umpires do keep you noted in terms of your over rate. We were very close, and then when the game got tight, I sort of thought in the back of my mind that we were going to be a little bit slow, but I thought what was more important was trying to make sure we were clear in what we were trying to do as a team, and then cop the charge at the end.
"There was a lot going on and naturally when it comes down to the last couple of balls you are perhaps having a few more conversations. Unfortunately we were an over short."
While Williamson's unselfish act proved prophetic in Manchester thanks to Trent Boult's catch on the boundary to deny the West Indies victory, with the skipper now one slip-up away from an automatic one-game suspension, the Black Caps will be making adjustments to ensure he's not at risk.
Black Caps coach Gary Stead suggested that the pressure of the match's tight finish impacted the speed of decision-making - and will be making sure all of his players are prepared if a similar situation comes up in the final three pool games.
"We will be talking about that, it's certainly something we don't want. Our record's been really good, and I think the moment the other night was something that probably got to everyone, it was so noisy and the atmosphere was so good that it was really hard and difficult to hear. When you get in those pressure moments, sometimes you need to take a bit of extra time to be clear on it."
The Black Caps have been fined just nine times since 1992 for over-rate offences, twice under Williamson's captaincy. He has a plan to avoid a third offence.
"It's never been a big problem for us in the past.
"I guess a good way to try and combat that in the future is making sure that in the earlier overs to try and build a little bit more time for that back end. In the next game we're just wanting to get through the overs a little bit quicker, in terms of in between overs, just to give ourselves that little bit more time at the back end of the game."
The match was a slow one from both teams, with suggestions that the West Indies were lucky not to avoid a sanction of their own after their bowling innings ended nearly 30 minutes behind schedule.
Stead noted that "the West Indies were slow as well", but had accepted the ruling and now simply wants to ensure his side don't encounter the problem again for the rest of the tournament.
"We just have a sheet that comes to us from the manager, where we find out what the penalties are, and we just have to move on, we can't change it.
"I understand the ICC have got things they need to clamp down on as well, that's part and parcel of it, but we don't want to lose Kane so that's something we'll be chatting about."
The Alternative Commentary Collective are podcasting their way through the World Cup. Known for their unconventional sports analysis and off-kilter banter, the ACC have come to ask the tough questions. Here's the latest episode of 'The Agenda':
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT