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Williamson back for New Zealand a big boost ahead of Bangladesh clash

21 Nov 2023
Simon Lewis 21 Nov 2023
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  • New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has recovered from his knee injury.
  • Williamson was named Player of the Series in the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
  • New Zealand are top of the 2023 Cricket World Cup table, with two wins from two matches.
Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson has recovered from his knee injury. (credit: Gareth Copley / Getty Images)

New Zealand skipper set to return

New Zealand squad captain Kane Williamson is set to make his first appearance at the 2023 Cricket World Cup, having recovered from his knee injury. New Zealand got off to an incredible start to their campaign with a nine-wicket win over World Cup holders England in the Cup opener. They then defeated the Netherlands by 99 runs to go top of the table. 
  • New Zealand skipper set to return
  • Williamson showing good mobility
  • World Cup experience
  • Southee also fit to return

Williamson will be returning to active duty for the clash against Bangladesh, who have won one match (by six wickets against Afghanistan) and lost one match (England, by 137 runs) in this tournament. Bangladesh are appearing in their seventh World Cup, and after a slow start, they have since won three matches in each of their last three World Cups. Bangladesh might not be strong candidates to challenge for the trophy, they are by no means a walkover, and the return of Williamson should help New Zealand maintain their unbeaten record.

Williamson showing good mobility

Kane has "had a great last five or six days, really ramped up the fielding aspect of things," head coach Gary Stead revealed at a press conference. "That's the key for Kane at the moment. It's not about his injury so much now, (rather) it's his ability to run between the wickets and to field and to consistently do that over a 50-over game.

"We've got two more trainings still to get through but at this stage, all things are looking good for Kane to return in this game. We still say that with an air of caution but we're really pleased with the way he has been coming on," added Stead.

World Cup experience

Williamson was Player of the Series in the 2019 Cricket World Cup, scoring 578 runs in nine innings. He ended 4th in the runs list in 2019, with Rohit Sharma (648 runs) in 1st place. Williamson scored two centuries and two half-centuries in the Cup at an average of 82.57 and a highest score of 148. 

In total, he has played 23 World Cup matches, scoring 911 runs at an average of 56.93.

In the 2019 final Williamson scored 30 off 77 balls, but in the 2015 final he scored just 12. In 2015 he scored just one half-century (57 against India), and in 2011 he scored 22 in the semif-final loss to Sri Lanka, scoring just 99 runs in his four innings in that tournament.  

Southee also fit to return

More good news for New Zealand is the report that fast bowler Tim Southee has recovered well from a fractured thumb and will also be in contention for selection.

Southee has played in three World Cups for New Zealand, being third-top wicket-taker in 2011 (18 wickets at an average of 17.33) and was named 12th man in the "team of the tournament”. In 2015 he recorded his career best ODI figures of 7/33 in the win over England, taking 15 wickets in the tournament to finish 8th on the wickets list. In the 2019 World Cup he played just one match, taking 1/70.

"Tim will be available for selection, he's been tracking well," added Stead. "Looks like the thumb has set very well. He's been bowling at full intensity for the last couple of training sessions.”

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