By Andrew Alderson in Birmingham
Kane Williamson is backing adaptability over aggression as the catalyst to World Cup cricketing glory.
The New Zealand captain has delivered his mid-tournament report card to the Herald from the Edgbaston stands with his side atop the table, unbeaten on 11 points.
The tournament was forecast to produce a gaggle of 300-plus scores. Yet only 17 of the 54 completed innings (31 per cent) have reached those heights - and none have come during Black Caps matches.
Let's frame that differently: Only 12 of the 27 teams batting first (44 per cent) have scored more than 300. Match aggregates of more than 500 runs have occurred 14 times out of 27 (52 per cent).
A total of 500 was supposedly under threat, but 400 is yet to be reached. A wet June with no sun to bake runs into the pitches means the reality has lampooned the predictions.
"There were a lot of ideas about high-scoring games," Williamson says.
"We have seen those, but there's also been a lot of low-scoring scrappy games and we've been involved in a number of them."
Bangladesh and South Africa were exhibits A and B if you consider low-scoring to be fewer than 250 runs in the current era. Williamson gave New Zealand impetus in the former contest with 40 from 72 balls pursuing 245 on a slow Oval pitch; a similar strip at Edgbaston saw him play arguably the innings of the tournament, 106 off 138 balls to haul in 242.
The knock earned coach Gary Stead's endorsement.
"He's been a rock – I'm pleased he's on my side.
"The innings out here [against the Proteas] was one of the best you'll see under pressure to win a game – taking it to the end with the calmness he had was magnificent – long may it continue."
Williamson has an encyclopedic knowledge of English conditions. He has played some form of top level cricket in the country every year since 2011 with either Gloucestershire, Yorkshire or as part of New Zealand tours.
Such muscle memory has brought 373 runs from four innings at this tournament's top average of 186.5 – second is India's Rohit Sharma with 106.66. The form prompted one journalist to speculate whether Williamson is the heir apparent to the self-proclaimed "Universe-Boss" Chris Gayle in the way he dominates games, albeit with less flamboyance.
Williamson's having none of that hypothesis.
"There's only one of those. He played in the last game and wasn't on our team."
The only bossing Williamson's doing right now is with his team, and that is done in an inclusive manner from what he describes as a "middlish" position on the team bus.
"I don't know the exact seat number, but it's nothing special. There are no designated spots. You hop on the bus one day [at the start of the tour] and that's your seat."
He is forging the team's reputation in his own selfless image. They are adaptable, authentic and in contention.
The Williamson leadership model refuses to mimic other strategies like England's damn-the-torpedoes mindset which has resulted in two defeats.
"Every team has different strengths to try to adapt their style of play to people in the side.
"England have so many all-rounders and power players and they've been successful [over the last four years] so they're committing to it.
"We do it differently."
New Zealand reconnaissance for the World Cup involved 16 current or former Black Caps being contracted to 12 English counties across various formats last season to glean intelligence as the side seeks to better their maiden final appearance in 2015.
"Any sort of experience [in England] helps. We've been on wickets which played differently to what we expected because of the weather, but we have a lot of other experienced heads in the group who have played here before."
The only concern around the captain's performance is ensuring he avoids suspension after getting docked 20 per cent of his match fee for a slow over rate against the West Indies in the Manchester thriller.
Williamson hopes his punishment was for the greater good but, if he contravenes the time limits again in this tournament, the arm of the International Cricket Council law will strike him out for at least one game.
The situation's unfortunate, but he says they had to sort their tactics in the circumstances.
"There was a lot going on and naturally the last few balls you are having more conversations. We need to get through the earlier overs quicker.
"The umpires keep you noted on over rates. We were close [to the limit] then the game got tight.
"In the back of my mind I thought we might be slow, but it was more important to be clear on what we wanted to do as a team, then cop the charge at the end."
"We will be talking about that," Stead added.
"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 difficult to hear.
"I understand the ICC have got things they need to clamp down on, but we don't want to lose Kane."