Black Caps need to adapt faster
Kane Williamson would like to see his team go back to basics and improve their skills as the series against the Proteas progresses.
The skipper conceded that losing a tight game was bitterly disappointing but he felt that the Proteas adapted to the tough surface faster than his team had.
In a rain reduced match the Proteas chased down the 208 runs they needed to win with just one ball of their allotted 34 overs to spare.
Speaking in his post-match press conference Williamson said: “Yeah pretty disappointing.
“I think it’s one of those games where ’cause it was such a fine line you look at a number of little things and kinda go shoulda, coulda but at the end of the day I think the guys fought really hard.
“With the bat it was far from perfect but we did manage to get to a total which I thought could be have been very difficult to chase down and it proved to do so. It took someone of the caliber of AB de Villiers to sculpt the way to the end and he played very well and put on a very good partnership at the end there and showed great composure.
“They thoroughly deserved the win.”
New Zealand did well to put South Africa under pressure after an excellent opening stand between Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla threatened to take the game away from the Black Caps.
Williamson said they always felt on this surface if they could get the breakthrough they could make it tough for South Africa.
The skipper continued: “I think they put on close to a hundred and when you do that chasing 200 on a tough surface as well, it was a very good platform for them to build from but still we knew that if we could take a wicket, break the partnership that having to start on that surface was going to be very tough and it was.
“It was just unfortunate for us that we didn’t come out on the right side but credit to the way South Africa adapted to those conditions.”
AB de Villiers had been highly critical of the surface in his post-match interview and Williamson couldn’t help but agree that the pitch was far from ideal.
When asked if the lack of partnerships in the middle-order made life difficult for New Zealand the skipper confessed that a few more runs from the top batsman would have been valuable.
He added: “It was a tough surface.
“Going back yes it would have been nice to have built some more partnerships through that middle order it would have given us a better platform to then have those latter overs where you play a bit more aggressively and bump your total up a little bit if you can.
“Unfortunately today we weren’t able to have many of those overs.
“Tim Southee and Colin de Grandhomme played nicely at the end to get us a score that like I say we knew was going to be tough to chase down bit I guess you go back and think it would have been nice to put a few more on the board.”
The skipper was impressed with how quickly the Proteas adapted to the surface and how they kept their cool at the death.
He said: “It wasn’t an easy surface but we do want to adapt far more quickly than that and South Africa did do that with their middle order partnerships they had a great platform at the start but sort of that middle-lower order partnerships that they were able to do on that tough surface was impressive.”
When asked about the surface Williamson felt a lot of how it played was down to the amount of rain that had been seen in the build up and the pitch being covered.
He said of the pitch: “Yeah very tough. I think being under covers for such a long period of time, I guess we’re thankful to get a game in today, it did take some drying out from when we first got here and it was a lot drier than when we first got here.
“It was still a very tough surface obviously the spinners were not that easy to face on it and we were able to make life difficult for South Africa, but they did play very well to get across the line.”
The skipper was asked if the decision to play Ish Sodhi was a last minute one and replied that while the state of the pitch made playing an extra spinner an easy decision they had always intended to play the spinner at this venue.
He replied: “He was in the squad with the intention of playing on a used surface and then with it being under covers for such a long period of time it was a no-brainer really to play a second spinner and he bowled very well he is a quality leg-spin bowler.
“If I go back to some of the turning surfaces we’ve been on in the T20 World Cup he was exceptional along with Mitch Santner so they bowled nicely again today hopefully they can again in the future.”
The Proteas win was their 12th consecutive ODI victory having recorded successive series whitewashes of Australia and Sri Lanka after beating Ireland in a one-off match in Benoni.
The Black Caps skipper isn’t too concerned with the Proteas winning run though and felt his team will only be looking to improve their own performance looking ahead.
He went on: “We aren’t thinking too much about their records we’re thinking about our cricket and how we want to improve. There are certainly a lot of areas to improve on from this game saying that I’m sure the surfaces going into the bulk of the series will be very different to that.”
“It’s important we do look to go back to the basics we know that if we are able to put them under a lot more pressure than we have done in the first two games then that will stand us in good stead.”
Williamson feels that New Zealand can take heart from portions of their play but he feels they need to up their game if they are to do well against South Africa in the rest of the series.
The skipper concluded: “For sure we fought hard today. We have been on the right side of a number of those games and it does hurt being on the other side but that is the nature of the sport.
“It’s important that we show that fight in all games that we play saying that I guess you mix that fighting characteristic with improvement in play and then you’ve got a very good performance.
“We are still after that very good performance.
“We were pretty good in the Chappell-Hadlee but there was room for improvement, again today there was some good signs but certainly we want to make some steps forward going into this next game and throughout the series.”
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