Manchester: New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson admitted that the game against West Indies was too “close for comfort” for them as they sneaked a narrow five-run win in a thrilling World Cup encounter at the Old Trafford.
On Saturday, a magnificent 148 from Williamson and a brilliant bowling spell of 4-30 from Trent Boult looked to be going in vain as Windies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite produced a devastating display of hitting for 101 off 82 balls.
Needing six off seven balls with one wicket in hand, Brathwaite was caught on the boundary by Boult as the Black Caps registered their fifth win of the tournament.
“He’s got very good hands,” said Williamson of Boult.
Williamson, who was also adjudged the Player of the Match for scoring his second consecutive hundred of the tournament, admitted that it wasn’t their best fielding performance in Manchester.
“We put a few down and it wasn’t our best fielding, but that made way for an outstanding finish and it was a little bit too close for comfort. Those sorts of games are great and we were fortunate to be on the right side of the result. It was a brilliant game but there’s a lot of learning for us to take out of it,” he said.
Chasing 292, Chris Gayle made 87 at the top of their innings, but a middle-order collapse undid much of the early good work. Brathwaite almost saved the day but was seen dropping to his knees in distress as Black Caps players comforted him after he got out.
West Indies skipper Jason Holder admitted that it was a tough game for them. “It was a tough game at the very end, but I’m proud of the guys, especially Carlos, who had a good innings. Chris had a good knock that really set the tone for us. It’s pretty tough but there are still a lot of positives.”
With three points from six games, West Indies are almost out of the contention of making it to the semi-finals and Holder believes the team will now play for pride in the remaining matches.
New Zealand, who have almost confirmed their last four berth, will now face Pakistan on June 26, followed by games against Australia and England.