ICC T20 World Cup 2022: "I think it’s time that New Zealand needs to think beyond Kane Williamson in this format"- Harbhajan Singh comes down hard at New Zealand after semi-final loss against Pakistan

New Zealand Training Session & Pakistan Press Conference
New Zealand Training Session & Pakistan Press Conference

Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh came down hard on New Zealand after they lost their T20 World Cup semi-final clash against Pakistan by seven wickets. He was disappointed with the lack of intent shown by the New Zealand batters on Wednesday (November 9).

The Blackcaps saw them score a below-par 152/4 in their allotted 20 overs after electing to bat.

New Zealand got off to the worst possible start, losing dangerman Finn Allen in the very first over of Shaheen Afridi. Devon Conway and Kane Williamson steadied the ship but a brilliant piece of fielding by Shadab Khan brought about the former’s downfall.

With Glenn Phillips' early departure, the onus was on Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell to get the Kiwis to a competitive score against Pakistan. The duo shared a 68-run stand but Harbhajan was not impressed with the intent. He felt New Zealand should have pressed on the accelerator and tried to get the boundaries rather than nudging around for singles and doubles.

Run-scoring wasn’t easy on a dry Sydney wicket but Daryl Mitchell’s unbeaten knock of 53 off 35 deliveries helped them post a decent score.

Harbhajan observed that New Zealand were at least 15-20 runs short of a total that they would have been comfortable with.

"They should have scored more, this was a surface where they actually scored 200 against Australia. I think they left at least 15-20 on that surface. Yes, 150 was a decent total, considering the World Cup pressure," Harbhajan Singh was quoted by Star Sports after the Pakistan-New Zealand clash.
"They did not look to score. The intention was just to just take singles and doubles. They were not looking to hit boundaries. Yes, you had lost 3 wickets upfront. But it's T20 format, you have to take your chances. You can't wait for things to happen, you can't wait for them to happen. And that's where I think they lost the game," he added.

Despite spending some quality time in the middle, Williamson didn’t manage to score freely and could only muster 46 off 43 deliveries. His strike rate has been a matter of concern throughout the tournament.

Harbhajan said that it was time for the Black Caps to start thinking beyond Williamson in this format. In the last two years, he has scored at a strike rate of 120.

"Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell, they were playing run-a-ball. It’s just not the way to play T20. I think it’s time that New Zealand need to think beyond Kane Williamson in this format. He is a top-class player but not in this format," Harbhajan added.

A dramatic entry into last four for Pakistan

It has been a roller-coaster ride for Pakistan in the World Cup. Having lost their first two matches against India and Zimbabwe, they were on the brink of elimination.

However, an unlikely Netherlands victory against South Africa paved the way for Pakistan's entry into the final four. They have now made their way into the final slated to be played at MCG on 13th November (Sunday).

India will square off against England in the 2nd semi-final at Adelaide on November 10th (Thursday).

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Edited by Aditya Singh
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