New Zealand’s captain, Kane Williamson, who has been recovering from a knee injury, marked his return with a promising half-century in a warm-up match ahead of the ICC World Cup. Although he won’t be playing in the tournament opener, Williamson looked comfortable as he scored a fluent 54 off 50 balls before retiring. He expressed his satisfaction, saying, “Just great to get through with some batting and be out in the middle.” Despite some post-match icing on his knee, he seemed optimistic about his recovery.
Rachin Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell played crucial roles for New Zealand, scoring 97 and 59, respectively, before Mark Chapman’s unbeaten 65 led the team to victory with a six. Williamson reflected on his injury, stating, “It was certainly not a reality five months ago. I’m fortunate with the recovery, and being named in the squad was really exciting for me.”
Pakistan, on the other hand, put up a strong batting performance, with Mohammed Rizwan smashing a century and Babar Azam contributing 80 runs to maintain his excellent form. Despite the absence of Naseem Shah and the rest of Shaheen Afridi, Pakistan managed to post a total of 345/5.
In a separate match in Guwahati, Bangladesh secured a seven-wicket victory against Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka struggled with their batting, posting 263 runs, with opener Pathum Nissanka and Dhananjaya de Silva managing half-centuries. Bangladesh comfortably chased down the target with openers Tanzid Hasan and Litton Das forging a 131-run partnership, and Mehidy Hasan Miraz contributing an unbeaten 67.
Unfortunately, South Africa’s warm-up match against Afghanistan was abandoned due to rain in Thiruvananthapuram.