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IPL experience good for Champions Trophy preparation, says Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson, New Zealand captain, believes the ongoing 10th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) is the best possible preparation for the ICC Champions Trophy, scheduled to be held in England from June 1-18.

ipl 2017 Updated: May 05, 2017 21:06 IST
IPL 2017,Kane Williamson,Champions Trophy 2017
Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Kane Williamson has scored 228 runs in five IPL 2017 matches so far, at an average of 57.00 with two half-centuries. (BCCI )

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, who plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad, said it is good to be playing in the Indian Premier League ahead of next month’s Champions Trophy.

“I think it’s just nice to play little bit of cricket in this tournament going into a major tournament like Champions Trophy. I suppose it is nice to play some cricket from my perspective personally,” Williamson, who was on the bench for six games, said.

(Read | IPL 2017: Sunrisers Hyderabad aim to halt Rising Pune Supergiant’s momentum)

“The rest of the New Zealand squad is getting together back home for preparations for the Champions Trophy,” he added.

Williamson said while it would be “tough” to stop a rampaging Rising Pune Supergiant tomorrow, his team would look to put its best foot forward.

“Every game is a real challenge. So, it is important to stay very grounded. We have been playing some good cricket, but so is Pune. It will really be a tough game. Every game is hard, so we need to try and play our best cricket.

(Read | David Warner keen to continue IPL 2017 form into Champions Trophy for Australia)

“Every match is important. You want to continue the momentum. We obviously had a close game against Delhi that we lost, but we still played some good cricket. So, we want to continue playing good cricket. Hopefully get (wins) in one or two matches, which can put us in the knockouts,” he added.

Having lost to Delhi Daredevils in their previous match despite scoring 185, Williamson said there were a couple of areas they would like to improve on.

(Read | Mumbai Indians’ Krunal Pandya factor stands out ahead of Delhi Daredevils clash)

“I suppose in the last game for the opposition to chase down 185 runs meant that they had to play really well. There are a couple of areas we want to improve on. But there was lot of positives that we can take from that game and hopefully put into our next match,” he said.

Asked if there is some sort of pressure on Hyderabad, considering that they are the defending champions, to make the play-offs, Williamson said: “We look at each game as an individual match. We want to play our best cricket and try to get those two points. Like I mentioned, we had a loss in Delhi but that can happen.

“In fact, no one’s gone unbeaten so far and it’s a very real thing particularly in Twenty20 cricket and it’s important we take that in our stride and look to move on.

(Read | IPL 2017 performance of England players has other teams ‘petrified’: Sam Billings)

“The team has been playing really well. Probably better than last year at this point. Obviously, last year, to win it was a great feeling. But we had to do it in a hard way. We had to play two semifinals and showed that fight that we needed to get through those different hurdles,” he added.

On his bowling, Williamson said, “I am always trying to improve my bowling. It’s really important to any team as you can provide options for the captain.”

Williamson said he was willing to bat at any position that his team would want him to.

“Myself at number three that’s ok. Whatever the team wants and whatever the best balance for the team is. David (Warner) is a very good captain. It’s a team game and so I am more than happy to bat wherever. Nice to get some opportunity,” he said.

Williamson said that the Sunrisers would be focussing on playing quality cricket in the rest of the edition.

“I suppose this year consistently we have been playing some good cricket. We still had couple of losses and a rained out match. We will be focussing on the quality of cricket that we have been playing and that’s going pretty well.”

First Published: May 05, 2017 20:29 IST