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Greatness shines through

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Kane_Williamson_New_Zealand_cricket“He would not make a great T20 batsmen. His game doesn’t suit this format.” This is what most felt and said about Kiwi Kane Williamson until his previous innings, when the masterful player showed there is still place for craft in the shortest format of the game.

In the era of T20s, the more flamboyant and loud players have been considered a threat while others have been touted as misfits. If T20s are an Indian wedding, the likes of Warner, Gayle and McCullum are fast Punjabi songs, while Kohli and AB are the groovy Bollywood numbers. Kane Williamson is more like a slow but affecting folk song. Though it doesn’t call for real excitement, it quietly goes about its job and creates an impact.

Kane Williamson got a look-in to the side after Sunrisers’ dismal show with the bat in the last game coupled with the threat of the Delhi Daredevils’ great bowling lineup. Warner and the management decided to play the Kiwi and let a bowler make way as Delhi’s batting didn’t look too pretty on paper, though they had been effective.

In a team that has hard hitters in Warner, Dhawan, Yuvi, Henriques and even Hooda, Williamson was a different player. He was looked at as someone who could provide stability to this side.

Warner’s wicket went early and there was added pressure on Williamson not to just carry the innings, but accelerate as well, for Dhawan had been out of touch for a while now and had been taking up a little different role in this Hyderabad lineup.

The New Zealand captain had a slow start to his innings and, contrary to popular wisdom, started accelerating after the powerplay overs. He found boundaries with ease. None of his shots were outrageous hits; just classy drives, cheeky glances and gutsy pulls.

In what was being put across as a perfect testament for the existence of touch, timing and class in T20s, Williamson made other look rusty in his 1st game of the season. He made the most seasoned professionals and the best bowlers look ordinary as they struggled.

 

Williamson had shots for all kinds of balls and went after every member of the Delhi Daredevils bowling unit. Williamson didn’t go about his job in the most outrageous way possible; he did it with grace and finesse. "I wish I could smack a few like Chris Gayle, but unfortunately not to be," he told the IPL website.

"I think it is about adapting to the best of your abilities and playing around with your strong points.

"There are some incredible players that can whack it 120 meters. I do practise hard in the nets to hit the ball long, but probably it is not in my genetic make-up to do that.

"So, I try and find a different way, something similar to the knock I played tonight."

Williamson realizes his limitations very well and that is a hallmark of a great player. Great players always knows their limitations and finds ways around them to make the most impact on a game, whatever format it may be. And Williamson is definitely one of them.

Williamson showed great attitude on the pitch, playing contrary to his natural style. Some players might have looked towards accumulating a few runs to cement their place in the side. Williamson played for the team and produced what turned out to be a Man of the Match performance.

The Kiwi was perfect in the way he read the pitch, the bowlers and the way he played accordingly. He used Cummins’ pace to pull him away or steer him fine; he was both cheeky and defiant against the medium pace of Zaheer Khan and Mathews. Williamson had a different strategy against Mishra where he got well under the ball and helped it get the right elevation and distance.

Williamson got to 89 off just 50 deliveries and laid a perfect platform for the dashers to make merry at the end with bowlers having lost their lines and lengths. So it wasn’t just his batting but the mental impact he had on the Daredevils’ bowlers that helped his side greatly.

This innings from the maestro will go down really well with the Sunrisers who now can look at a match winner with the bat beyond Warner, who they can blindly believe can finish the job almost always, perfectly.

 

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