Kane Williamson hails ‘brilliant’ New Zealand after World Cup stunner against India

New Zealand's Lockie Ferguson celebrates taking the wicket of India's Bhuvneshwar Kumar as the Kiwis shocked the Old Trafford crowd to reach the World Cup final. (Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 10 July 2019

Kane Williamson hails ‘brilliant’ New Zealand after World Cup stunner against India

  • Matt Henry and Trent Boult did the damage with the new ball
  • India were in dire straits in their chase when all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja came in at 92 for six

MANCHESTER: Kane Williamson praised New Zealand’s “brilliant fighting effort” as his side reached their second successive World Cup final with a dramatic 18-run win over India on Wednesday.
In a semifinal that went into a second day because of rain, New Zealand ripped through India’s top-order on Wednesday to reduce the two-time former champions to 24 for four.
Matt Henry and Trent Boult did the damage with the new ball as India’s top three of Rohit Sharma, — who came into match having hit a record five hundreds at a single World Cup — captain Virat Kohli and KL Rahul all fell for a single apiece in pursuit of a seemingly modest target of 240.
Henry finished with superb figures of three for 37 from his maximum 10 overs and Boult two for 42.
“A brilliant fighting effort from our guys on another tough surface,” Black Caps skipper Williamson said.
“We wanted 240, 250. Then to have the start with the ball we had was an outstanding way to kick things off and get us into a position of strength.”
Williamson’s 67 in awkward batting conditions on Tuesday, together with fellow senior batsman Ross Taylor’s 74, had provided the cornerstone of New Zealand’s 239 for eight.
India were in dire straits in their chase when all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja came in at 92 for six.
But he went on to make 77 and share a World Cup record seventh-wicket partnership of 116 with veteran wicketkeeper MS Dhoni, who made 50 in support.
Williamson eventually held the catch that ended Jadeja’s counter-attack following a skyer off left-arm quick Boult.
“The innings Jadeja played, it was like he was playing on a different wicket, really. He timed the ball beautifully well,” Williamson said.
Asked what he was thinking when he caught Jadeja, the smiling captain answered: “Someone goes ‘catch it’ and it’s sort of... it’s above me so it must be mine.”
New Zealand came into this match on the back of three straight group-stage defeats by Pakistan, Australia and England.
They qualified fourth on net run-rate while India topped the 10-team group table, making them heavy underdogs against one of the pre-tournament favorites.
“We’ve seen that anybody can beat anybody,” said Williamson, who will now look to lead New Zealand to their first World Cup title against either champions Australia — the team that beat them in the 2015 final — or hosts England at Lord’s on Sunday.
When it was suggested that New Zealand had plunged billions of India fans into a state of mourning, the understated skipper, who has captained the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League, replied: “I hope they’re not too angry.
“Obviously, the passion for the game in India is unrivalled and we are all fortunate to play this sport and have a country like India be right behind it.
“But hopefully we can adopt 1.5 billion supporters and they’ll be supporting us, what do you reckon?
“The game of cricket is fickle in its nature especially when it comes to the white ball and Twenty20 and one-day cricket.
“Today perhaps some of those small margins went our way and it was great that we could get across the line and beat a very strong side.”


Dakar Rally stars gear up for ‘thrilling’ Saudi race challenge

The first stage of Rally Qassim began in Umm Sidra covering a distance of 170km. Several drivers are keen to test before the Dakar Rally crosses the country for the first time in January 2020. (SPA)
Updated 19 October 2019

Dakar Rally stars gear up for ‘thrilling’ Saudi race challenge

  • French driver Stéphane Peterhansel, a 13-time winner of the Dakar Rally, revealed that he was initially surprised to hear that the competition had been moved from Africa to Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Dakar Rally drivers are gearing up for a “thrilling and exciting” challenge when the world-famous desert race is staged in Saudi Arabia for the first time next year.
The Kingdom will host the event from Jan. 5 to 17, 2020 with top racers from around the globe traveling thousands of kilometers through inhospitable terrain in cars, trucks and on quad bikes and motorcycles.
The rally will begin in Jeddah and follow a tough route through desert, sand dunes and mountainous areas taking in NEOM, the Red Sea Project, Riyadh and Qiddiya.
French driver Stéphane Peterhansel, a 13-time winner of the Dakar Rally, revealed that he was initially surprised to hear that the competition had been moved from Africa to Saudi Arabia.
“However, after doing some research, I realized that Saudi Arabia was a very wonderful and suitable country for the rally. It has different terrain types, and I expect us to have a perfect track. The vast desert gives me hope that the 2020 Saudi Dakar Rally will be more thrilling and exciting than Africa,” he said.
Five-time Dakar Rally winner and fellow French driver, Cyril Despres, said that racing in Saudi Arabia would be a new adventure that could only be experienced by those who lived up to its challenges.
“When I heard that the Dakar Rally was moving for the first time to the Middle East, I remembered the words of its founder, Thierry Sabine, who said that if you liked exploring the African continent, you would also love exploring other parts of the world,” he added.

Positive move
British rally raid motorcycle rider, Sam Sunderland, who won his category in the 2017 Dakar Rally, said he was delighted to be participating in the Saudi race. “I believe that this change is good, as I have lived in Dubai for 10 years, having adapted well to the Middle East’s atmosphere.

When I heard that the Dakar Rally was moving for the first time to the Middle East, I remembered the words of its founder, Thierry Sabine, who said that if you liked exploring the African Continent, you would also love exploring other parts of the world.

Cyril Despres, French driver

“Exploring a new area is a positive move for the Dakar Rally, and I am certain that everyone who practices this sport is excited to explore a new ground for racing,” Sunderland added.
ED Racing Team driver, Issa Al-Dossari, said the main reason he had taken part in Rally Qassim was to prepare for the Dakar challenge.
“We will be using two cars in the rally. We look forward to raising the level of preparedness for many coming global events. But this does not mean that we will not compete for the top places.”
Al-Dossari invited sports fans to visit the team’s headquarters at Date City to see equipment and meet its members.
The team must participate in two different cars, the first driven by Al-Dossari with his French navigator Sébastien Delaunay, and the second with Emirati Abdallah Al-Huraiz behind the wheel and Ali Hassan navigating.
The first stage of Rally Qassim began on Friday in Umm Sidra covering a distance of 170 km, with stage two raced over 200 km.
Meanwhile, entry registrations for the Dakar Rally are still open in all categories at https://www.dakar.com/en/the-competitors/register.