T20 World Cup: Williamson hails 'outstanding' Black Caps bowlers ahead of Pakistan semi-final

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Kane Williamson lavished praise on New Zealand's "outstanding" bowling attack as they prepare to face Pakistan in the first T20 World Cup semi-final on Wednesday.

The Blacks Caps qualified for the last four as Group 1 winners, winning three matches and only suffering one defeat against England.

Beaten by Australia in the final in Dubai last year, the consistent Black Caps once again find themselves challenging for another trophy.

New Zealand have never won the T20 World Cup but have a great chance to put the heartbreak of the 2021 final behind them in Australia.

Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson and Ish Sodhi have all shown their quality with the ball for the Black Caps.

Captain Williamson knows he is lucky to have such a strong attack.

He said: "They're experienced players for us. They've played for us a long time, whether that's taking wickets or, in particular, adjusting to conditions which certainly we need them to come to tournaments, world events, that's a big part of playing.

"So they've been outstanding throughout this tournament. And tomorrow we're at another venue against another opposition, and we'll have to make those adjustments again."

Pakistan sneaked into the semi-finals thanks to the Netherlands' shock defeat of South Africa after Babar Azam's side beat Bangladesh.

Williamson knows how dangerous Pakistan can be as they prepare for a showdown at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with the winners facing England or India.

"They've got an outstanding pace attack. They've been playing really good cricket. They've got very experienced players on their side, who are match-winners. So, that's a real strength for them," the batter said.

Pakistan beat New Zealand in a tri-series final last month and have won four of the past five matches between the two sides in the shortest format.

 

Afridi firing on all cylinders 

Shaheen Shah Afridi has demonstrated why Pakistan were so eager for him to return to full fitness for this tournament after a spell out with a knee injury.

The left-arm paceman looked understandably rusty at the start of the Super 12 stage, but played a huge part in seeing Pakistan through by claiming 3-14 in a win over South Africa and 4-22 in the victory over the Tigers.

Afridi takes some stopping when he is at his hostile best and New Zealand's openers will need to try and see him off when he charges in with the new ball.

Babar due to show his brilliance

Pakistan have been able to count on captain Babar time and again with the bat, but he had not reached double figures before making 25 against Bangladesh.

The prolific skipper never tends to go long without a significant score and it would be no surprise if he delivers on the big stage in Sydney.

Run machine Babar averages an impressive 41.39 in T20Is, with a strike rate of 127.98.