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New Zealand unbeaten start is down to the team and not just Williamson, claims Santner

New Zealand Celebrates
New Zealand Celebrates
©Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

Forget Kane Williamson for a second - New Zealand's unbeaten start to the Cricket World Cup has been a true team effort with everyone stepping up to the plate.

  • Kane Williamson has the highest batting average – 186.50 – at this edition of the World Cup
  • New Zealand have won all the games they have completed at this World Cup 

That's the view of Black Cats all-rounder Mitchell Santner as the Black Caps look to continue their impressive start to this year's competition against Pakistan in Edgbaston on Wednesday. 

Boasting the highest batting average in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 to date - a staggering 186.50 - after match winning knocks against both West Indies and South Africa, skipper Williamson has rightly been lauded for his wonderfully assured performances over the past month.

But with only one side - the West Indies - having scored over 250 against New Zealand so far, and the likes of Lockie Ferguson and Trent Boult excelling with the ball, Santner believes the Blacks Caps' success so far is as much a triumph of collective skill.

"We've had a couple of tight games, which I guess the key so far is other people have been stepping up, and I guess that's what you want to do as a team," he said.

"You want everyone to step up at different times throughout the tournament, and I think that's what we've found so far.

"We haven't relied on a few guys to do the bulk of the work, but in saying that, being on the winning side of those tight encounters give the whole squad confidence.

"So that's nice, obviously, going into each game, that you know you've got confidence.

"The team, other people are standing up at different times, and you can back everyone to do a job rather than just relying on a couple of key players.

"You look at our side as a whole, we're quite a scrappy side, and we pride ourselves on winning those little moments, like I guess we have been, and saying that, we could have been on the other end of a couple of those games."

Opponents Pakistan head into Wednesday's game in Birmingham still well in the hunt for a semi-final berth after victory over South Africa at Lord's on Sunday.

Key to the Men in Green's success resurgence has been Mohammad Amir's potent use of the new ball, with the seamer currently sitting close to the top of the bowling standings.

And with pre-tournament England another their victims over the past month, Santner believes Pakistan's threat cannot be taken lightly.

"I think they're very dangerous. Obviously, they've had a pretty good record over here," he added.

"They won the Champions Trophy a couple of years ago, and they've come off a pretty good win against South Africa.

"We've played Pakistan a lot recently. We're aware of their strengths, and I think Wahab back into their team is very good for them.

"Amir is bowling very well as well. Their bowling attack on the whole is very good.

"We can't take them lightly, and we'll have to prepare accordingly.

"I guess we've seen early in this tournament they've taken down big sides.

They took down England and took down South Africa the other day.

"When they're hot, they're really hot.

"We have to, obviously, find ways of trying to cool them down when they're like that.

 "We're playing pretty good cricket as well, so I think we're in for a pretty good match tomorrow."