Williamson urges New Zealand to get 'scrappy' in World Cup

Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


Kane Williamson has warned New Zealand to be ready for difficult World Cup pitches where "scrappy" cricket is essential as they begin their campaign against Sri Lanka.

The tournament has already witnessed two contrasting games as England scored 311-8 despite a tricky surface in their tournament opening win against South Africa at the Oval.

But on Friday, the West Indies bowled out Pakistan for just 105 in their one-sided win at Trent Bridge.

Despite big scores predicted in the English summer, New Zealand captain Williamson cautioned his players not to get stuck to a plan and adjust according to the situation as they prepare for their opener in Cardiff on Saturday.

"There has been a lot of talk about really high scores but I think there will be a number of games where that isn't the case and it will require adjustment," Williamson told reporters on Friday.

"Guys maybe will have to push harder on a particular surface on a given day, but equally it might be about adjusting to what one-day cricket used to look a little bit like. Scores that are a bit lower and much more of that scrappy type.

"There will not be one way to play. We know that not every game will be a 350 score, and it's important to be made aware of that as we go throughout this tournament."

The Black Caps start as overwhelming favourites against 1996 winners Sri Lanka, a side that has slumped to ninth in the ODI rankings.

But despite a 3-0 series win over Sri Lanka on home soil at the start of the year, Williamson won't be underestimating their struggling opponents.

"I don't know how much the past really counts for as we come into a tournament. It is on the day and we know in this competition that every team can beat any of the other teams," Williamson said.

"We are certainly treating all of our matches like that and want to bring the focus back onto the cricket we want to play.

"We know the Sri Lanka side is a bit different to the one we played at home, but we have no doubt that they are a tough side."

New Zealand reached the World Cup final for the first time four years ago, but had to settle for a runners-up finish against Australia.

Their bid to make amends for that painful near-miss suffered a scare when wicketkeeper Tom Latham broke his finger during a warm-up game in Australia earlier this month.

But Latham has recovered in time to be available for his team's opening game.

"Yeah, so fairly exciting for Tom. He's progressed nicely and will be available tomorrow, which is great news. He's very much looking forward to that," Williamson said.