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June 8, 2019

Kane Williamson

Taunton, England, UK

New Zealand - 173/3, Afghanistan - 172

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Kane Williamson.

Q. Kane, three matches in, you've had a performance from, sort of various performance, Matt Henry and now James Neesham, several of the batsmen have got good scores as well. Do you feel like going into maybe a tougher part of the tournament for you, a lot of your things are out working right across your team?
KANE WILLIAMSON: I suppose the nature of having chased three times it's meant that it's been a little bit different each time and guys have had to adapt and basically try and chase the total down as clinically as possible.

And this game was an improvement on our previous game, which is the main thing. But I guess at the end of the day every day you turn up you have a different opposition. Often at a different ground.

So it is very much about adapting to what's in front of you. And it's nice to have some early wins, but at the same time it's just trying to do the job at hand as well as you can to give yourself the best chance.

So the team have put together some strong performances, but it is important that you just move on and look forward to the next challenge.

Q. Kane, did you say anything to Jimmy Neesham today, his bowling, because he went for a bit of a tap against Bangladesh? Did you say anything to him to sort of build the confidence to take those five wickets?
KANE WILLIAMSON: I wish I could claim some of it. But, no, I can't. He bowled beautifully. Look, it was a different surface and perhaps suited him a little bit more, someone that runs in hits the wicket hard. And I think we saw it from both sides the guys that did do that, that did get that bounce and a little bit of movement out of it.

So he bowled some beautiful deliveries today and broke a crucial partnership at the top of the order for us and deserves all the credit that he'll get for a five-for which is outstanding.

We, without a doubt, know how talented the Afghanistan side is, and I know it firsthand with some of the guys that I've played with and very savvy as well, even though they haven't played a lot, I guess, of World Cup cricket or international-type test nation cricket, but very cagey in how they operate. So it was a really good performance from us today.

Q. Was that bounce and what you just said, is that why you gave the ball to him a little bit earlier than you have recently, because usually you use Colin as first change with Lockie, is that the reason why Jimmy got the ball a little bit earlier than usual today?
KANE WILLIAMSON: Yep, basically that was it. Those two guys for us have been crucial in very different roles. And I guess we've seen both examples of it throughout the last three games where we've had that pace and bounce, someone like Jimmy, when he is bowling well, he can get very good pace out of the surface. And today was one of those days. And I guess they complement each other along with the other bowlers in the attack.

Q. Do you feel like you've seen the first phase of the tournament, knock over those three wins and then take your chance with the six to come?
KANE WILLIAMSON: I suppose. I don't know. We don't really look at it like that. You look at it, I guess, as a tournament as a whole. And I suppose as a side for us it's about trying to improve day in, day out with what we're trying to do as a team.

And I guess at times in World Cups or different tournaments, when you are playing one-off games against opposition, you can look too much at the opposition when in fact, if you are playing the cricket that you want to be playing and hopefully getting better at that throughout the tournament, then that gives you the best chance.

So we do have a couple of days off now, which is a good thing. There's a lot of cricket in this tournament. But at the same time the focus will turn to our next match, like I mentioned earlier, different venue, different opposition and different challenge at hand.

Q. I know you don't like talking about yourself, but your highest World Cup score, how pleasing was that out there?
KANE WILLIAMSON: Yes, it was just nice to, I guess, build a couple of partnerships, which is really important, I suppose, when you're chasing.

And we've had three sort of mid-totals I guess you'd call it and you want to try and get a bit of stability going into some of those later overs because every team in this competition have world-class wicket takers within it. And if you give them a sniff, then they can run away with it.

And I think we saw a little bit of that the other night with Bangladesh. It almost felt like we were playing in Bangladesh with the noise and the volume that we experienced.

But, yeah, it was just a nice performance. It was slight improvement, I guess, from the other night.

Q. Given the form of Matt Henry and Colin Munro so far in the tournament, where does that sit for you selection-wise with Henry Nicholls now fitting in in terms (indiscernible) fit?
KANE WILLIAMSON: Yeah, those guys are tracking nicely with their injuries, and I suppose the beauty of this squad is everybody's a little bit different. So when you do turn up and you're addressing the surface and the opposition, you do have slightly different options to look at. And the guys that have been picked so far have done a really good job over a couple of days off now, a bit of training, and it gives them a little bit more time as well to keep improving their bodies, which are pretty much back to full fitness. And then we'll just have to turn up at Trent Bridge and have a look with what we're dealing with.

Q. To continue an Asian theme, you have India up next. Do you feel like these three games have given you the right kind of setup to be ready for a big game like that?
KANE WILLIAMSON: I suppose these games, each game sort of is what it is, I guess. It's not, I suppose, preparation for anything else, but just events in themselves and that's how we're trying to target them. So we go to Trent Bridge, and we know the experience will be different there. And like I've mentioned before, we'll have to adapt to a different challenge. But we know that India are one of the best sides in this tournament. So it will be a really good challenge and the guys will look forward to it.

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