Former Yorkshire CCC star Kane Williamson happy for New Zealand to be World Cup underdogs

Kane Williamson argued every team in the last four of the World Cup are capable of beating one another as he expressed his indifference at New Zealand’s status as underdogs.

New Zealand's Kane Williamson speaks to players during the nets session at Emirates Old Trafford. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

The Black Caps squeezed into the knockout stages ahead of Pakistan by virtue of their superior net run-rate, finishing fourth in the table to set up a semi-final showdown against India at Old Trafford.

New Zealand’s campaign has stuttered with three consecutive defeats while they have lost each of the last three bilateral one-day international series meetings against their next opponents. India triumphed 4-1 on New Zealand soil earlier this year but the Kiwis’ lone success – their penultimate ODI meeting – saw them skittle the Asian giants for 92 in Hamilton.

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Former Yorkshire player Williamson said: “Whoever you play, every side has the belief that you get to this point, you can go all the way.

India's Virat Kohli at a pre-match press conference at Emirates Old Trafford. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

“To do that, you basically have to beat everyone.

“It’s one of those occasions where every team works so hard to end up in the last four where to a certain extent it all starts again where the day comes and anything can happen.

“All sides have beaten one another on a number of occasions throughout the last few years. Whether we are underdogs or not, it doesn’t really matter. It is about how we turn up and how we commit to the plans we want to implement and try to play with that freedom.”

Opposite number Virat Kohli, meanwhile, believes the high level of expectation for India’s cricket team will enable them to handle the pressure moments today.

“The Indian team always carries a lot of expectation and pressure,” said Kohli. “We are quite used to that over the years. We are better equipped to react in these situations because we know what these kind of games and our fan base and the expectations bring.