LONDON: New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is bracing himself for a more raucous atmosphere than normal at Lord s when his side face Australia in a World Cup match on Saturday.
Reigning champions Australia, who beat New Zealand in a Melbourne final four years ago, have already booked their place in the semi-finals.
But the Black Caps will join them in the last four from the 10-team round-robin stage if they win this weekend and may well qualify even if they lose to their trans-Tasman rivals.
New Zealand found themselves in front of a raucous pro-Pakistan crowd during a six-wicket loss at Edgbaston on Wednesday — their first defeat of the tournament.
Lord s is traditionally the most reserved of England s major grounds but with many of the seats at the 28,500-capacity ground set to be occupied by Australia and New Zealand fans, Williamson is expecting a change in tone.
“Pakistan was very loud. Bangladesh, very loud. India, we didn t even play (the match was a washout) and they were very loud,” a smiling Williamson said at Lord s on Friday.
“Usually you come to Lord s and there s sort of a quiet murmur when you play England, but I guess playing Australia it might be a little bit different when you have Kiwis and Australians filling out the seats.
“It will be a really good atmosphere.”
If New Zealand are to triumph on Saturday, they will likely have to subdue in-form Australia opener David Warner, who is the tournament s leading run-scorer with 500 runs.
“He s a world-class player,” said Williamson. “I ve obviously spent a bit of time with him over the years (for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League).”
“He s able to adjust to conditions and continued to improve his game,” said Williamson, who has scored two centuries during the current tournament.
“We ve seen that throughout this tournament, as well, where all the talk s been about (totals of) 350-plus.
“It s actually been about sort of hard graft and trying to get yourself into a position of strength to get a competitive total, and he s been instrumental on the Australian side.”
Despite reaching the 2015 final and having been multiple World Cup semi-finalists, the Black Caps, who have never won the trophy, have not been tipped for this year s title by many pundits.
Yet it is now possible that New Zealand can go through to the last four and hosts England, the pre-tournament favourites, fail to make the knockout stages.
“The likes of Australia and India and England and all these sides have come into the tournaments as favourites, and rightly so,” he said.
But he added: “On the day, anybody can beat anybody, and we ve seen that on different occasions already in this tournament.”