Mumbai, March 8 (IANS) New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson on Tuesday said, hosts, India are favourites to win the World Twenty20 cricket tournament considering their familiarity with the conditions.
The 27-day tournament got underway in Nagpur on March 8 and will be played at eight venues across India with Eden Gardens in Kolkata scheduled to host the final on April 3.
India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Australia are clubbed in Group 2 while South Africa, England, the West Indies and Sri Lanka are in Group 1.
“No doubt India will be favourites to win the title. I think all the teams will come here believing they can win it. All the sides are playing good cricket. The key will be to score more run and the can beat India in these conditions. We are playing some good T20 cricket lately and it is important we adapt to the conditions well. We have to be smart and play the best brand of play,” Williamson said at a press conference here.
“Considering the condition India will be tough to beat. There are a lot of players who can win matches. From our perspective we want to focus on our game, how we play that and how best we can play on the day. We have to be smart against the opposition side. We have to score more runs in order to beat India,” the skipper said.
New Zealand come into the tournament with some hard hitters in Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Williamson and all-rounders Corey Anderson and Mitchell McClenaghan, forming a strong batting line-up.
“We have won a couple of T20s, then played some Tests then went to Dubai for a bit of training. Then we came here in Mumbai. I think it’s a good build up. Here in the training at Wankhede Stadium (Mumbai) guys hit a couple of sixes, always nice to see. Hopefully, we can do it in the matches,” the 25-year-old said.
The visitors will play a couple of warm-up matches against Sri Lanka and England ahead of the opener against India on March 15 in Nagpur.
New Zealand will, however, miss hard-hitting batsman Brendon McCullum who retired from the game recently.
Speaking on McCullum, the right-handed batsman said, “I think it’s probably a part of anything you do that comes to an end. It was Brendon’s decision to retire and that is just the nature of it. He gave so much to the team while he was around and we are certainly thankful for that, for the time we had with him.”
“He is excited about what he is going to get on in the future. I suppose it is a small transition losing your captain and a top order batter but it is just a part and parcel of the game we play,” he said.
Several NZ players have experience of Indian conditions after playing in Indian Premier League (IPL). Williamson believes that will come as a huge help in the World T20.
“There are a lot of guys that have played a lot of cricket in IPL and it is important that you tap into that experience to help your cause. A lot of guys have played alongside most of the other international players as well so everyone knows each other. But it will be a really tough tournament and every team will be expecting that which makes way for a very exciting competition,” Williamson said.