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Williamson embraces New Zealand's 'underdog' status
New Zealand News

Williamson embraces New Zealand's 'underdog' status

Kane Williamson said New Zealand were content with starting out as underdogs in the World Cup final on Sunday at Lord's where they will battle against number one ranked one-day international side England for cricket's ultimate prize.

This marks New Zealand's second successive final as they came second-best to a rampant Michael Clarke-led Australian side in the 2015 edition of the tournament.

The Black Caps' performance in the group stage followed a downward trajectory as the tournament progressed but Williamson's men made a tremendous recovery in the semi-final clash against India to defy the odds and complete a shock 18-run win over the strong title contenders.

"To be involved in a World Cup and be representing your country, let alone to turn up here at the home of cricket and be involved in a final is pretty special," Williamson spoke on the eve of Sunday's game.

"I think England rightly deserve to be favourites."

"Coming into this tournament from the start, they were favourites and they've been playing really good cricket," added Williamson, whose team had earlier been defeated by England in the tournament.

"But whatever dog we are, it's just important that we focus on the cricket that we want to play and we have seen over the years that anybody can beat anybody -- regardless of breed of dog."

All the talk about New Zealand being dubbed as "party poopers" amused Williamson who commented: "You talking about dogs again, hey? Underdogs?"

'Pressure on anybody, whether you are favourites or not'

Williamson refuted all insinuations of his side being free from pressure by claiming New Zealand were equally keen on going one better than the 2015 final and registering their maiden World Cup title.

"We are quite keen on winning as well," he said. "There's all different bits of pressure on anybody.

"Whether having had experience in a final or not is a good thing -- any final you get the opportunity to play in is a really positive thing.

"But at the same time, as we know in this game nothing promises, so it does come down to putting a performance on the board that gives us the best opportunity to win."

Williamson has consistently garnered accolades for maintaining a calm presence on the field whereby he is able to conceal his emotions and provide the team with a sense of stability even during calamitous game situations.

"It's forever learning, learning about the game and about yourself and different emotions that you can feel," he said. "But as a group, for us it is important that we are level and keep peeling it back to what is important."

The Lord's pitch on Saturday looked to be covered with a green tinge but Williamson was hesitant in making conclusions on the nature of the surface a day before the game and reserved his judgement for when the captains would stroll out for the coin toss.

"Perhaps it's encouraging to seam bowlers on both sides," he said. "But we don't know what the wicket has in store, there's still a bit of time between now and the start of play.

"Usually, it's a fairly fair surface here but, at the same time, one that guys need to adapt quickly to, like any other surface we have seen in the World Cup."