NZ confident about future after semi-final exit

The Blacks Caps are confident they have the foundations in place to continue to compete with the elite when the next World Cup comes around

Published : 16 Nov 2023, 04:43 AM
Updated : 16 Nov 2023, 04:43 AM

New Zealand are confident they have the foundations in place to continue to compete with the elite at the World Cup even if they could be without Kane Williamson and a few other generational talents when the next edition comes around.

Skipper Williamson had no complaints about how the Blacks Caps were manhandled out of the semi-finals by India on Wednesday, possibly bringing to an end his hopes of ever raising the oldest limited-overs World Cup trophy.

The batting great, who has played in four World Cup semi-finals and two finals, will be 37 when southern Africa hosts the quadrennial 50-overs showpiece in 2027, while strike bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult will be 38.

Williamson laughed when the matter was raised at his post-match press conference -- "Are you going to talk about how old we are?, he joked -- before saying he saw signs that the ageing world class talents were bringing along younger players.

"It's been an ongoing effort as a side to keep trying to get better and push the boundaries of where we can get to as a team and all those people are part of that," he said.

"You can only hope that, as we experienced from some of our leaders as young guys, that we can continue to bring players through.

"Some good signs, certainly, in this last period of time. It's not over just yet, but that's where the focus is."

Despite losing five of their last six matches at the tournament, Williamson was proud of what the Black Caps had achieved in India and accepted that they had simply been beaten by a better team at the Wankhede Stadium on Wednesday.

He refused to look for excuses in the injuries that restricted him to four matches, robbed the Black Caps of quick Matt Henry for the last two weeks and also hampered all-rounders Jimmy Neesham and Mark Chapman.

While New Zealand's bowlers did not produce their best in tricky conditions for seamers, Rachin Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell were the tournament's third and fourth highest run-scorers after Wednesday's match.

Mitchell gave New Zealand a brief glimmer of hope that they might be able to run down the victory target of 398 and reach a third successive final with a spectacular 134 from 119 balls.

The 32-year-old only started playing international cricket four years ago and joined his captain in warning against writing off New Zealand's many thirtysomethings just yet.

"For me now it's trying to make the most of playing for New Zealand for as long as I can and keep trying to move this Silver Fern forward," he told reporters.

"I love being part of this group and we've got a number of world class players who love being in that changeroom and love playing for New Zealand.

"I'm sure many of the boys will keep doing it for a while yet."