Kane Williamson made a stunning return to competitive cricket with a crucial fifty against Pakistan in the ICC World Cup warm-up fixture. The Kiwis registered a five-wicket win over the Babar Azam-led side in the practice game at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad. The Blackcaps gunned down the target of 346 in the 44th over.
Having recovered from a severe knee injury, Williamson scored 54 from 50 in the run-chase. The right-handed batter looked comfortable at the crease and ran through the wickets without any issues. The 33-year-old opened up on his injury comeback and how he felt after returning to action. "Just great to get through with some batting in the middle which is really nice. [on the injured knee] It has held up pretty well and some icing now which is a part of the process. Wasn't a reality 5 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 said after the match.
New Zealand are now set to face South Africa in their second and final practice game before they take on the 2019 champions in the main draw. Williamson looked satisfied with their win over Pakistan in the high-scoring affair in Hyderabad and now looks forward to the game against the Proteas. "A fantastic hit-out. Pakistan are an outstanding side. It is an exercise and nice to compete and do all those things. There's always things to work on, great batting performance on a really good surface. We head off to a different surface against a different opposition and we look forward to it ahead of our first game," he added.
New Zealand sent in Rachin Ravindra to open alongside Devon Conway. Ravindra scored a match-winning 97 and was followed by fifties from Williamson, Daryl Mitchell, and Mark Chapman. Pakistan had earlier scored 345 in their 50 overs with Mohammad Rizwan getting to a century. Babar Azam and Saud Shakeel got among the runs too as they scored their fifties.