THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India (AP) — Kane Williamson showed no signs of discomfort in his knee as New Zealand geared up for the Cricket World Cup with a thumping five-wicket win over Pakistan in a high-scoring warmup match on Friday.
Williamson made a sublime 54 off 50 balls in New Zealand’s successful chase of 346-5, but the Kiwis’ skipper will miss the World Cup opener against England next Thursday as he continues his rehabilitation from knee surgery.
Daryl Mitchel (59) and Mark Chapman (65 not out) had half centuries, but it was Rachin Ravindra who tormented the Pakistan bowlers after his surprising promotion as opener on a wicket tailormade for batters.
The left-handed Ravindra made a blistering 97 off 72 balls with 16 fours and a six against a second-string Pakistan attack that rested its premier fast bowler Shaheen Afridi and legspinner Shadab Khan.
Ravindra and Williamson combined in a match-winning 179-run second-wicket stand after Devon Conway was caught out at midwicket off the first ball he faced from Hasan Ali, who is making a comeback to the Pakistan ODI team after more than a year.
Williamson retired out soon after completing his half century, which included eight boundaries, but Mitchel and Chapman continued to score at a rapid pace as New Zealand wiped out the target with more than six overs to spare.
“It’s great to get through with some batting in the middle which is really nice,” Williamson said. “It wasn’t a reality five months ago, was fortunate with the recovery and nice to be named in the squad … went pretty well and nice to build on that.”
Williamson, who didn’t field on Monday, is expected to take the field and bat in the next warmup game against South Africa.
Williamson injured his knee during the opening game of this year’s Indian Premier League and had surgery. He was with the team in England during the white-ball series while continuing his rehabilitation for the World Cup.