Could England spend exactly half a match watching Kane Williamson bat and still win?

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2019 Cricket World Cup, Game 41, England v New Zealand

We wouldn’t say that Kane Williamson was a flawless batsman, but only because it would most likely trigger the kind of nitpicking conversation that a certain sort of person seems to really enjoy and which we really do not. If we say that he’s very good, can we all just agree on that and leave it there and not dissect the matter any further?

Williamson is thus far averaging 113.50 at this World Cup, which is handy. His strike-rate is however lower than pretty much everyone bar Hashim Amla. After a blow to the head in the first match, Amla played as if it were 1984 and he should probably be removed from the stats.

So Williamson is both the best batsman and also the worst batsman. You might say we need to consider the context in which his runs were scored, but we’d strongly disagree because we’re painting with broad brushstrokes here. Broader than broad. We’re maybe even using a roller or a spray gun thing.

So here’s the question: could Kane Williamson bat right the way through New Zealand’s innings and make a dazzling hundred only for England to saunter to the target without anyone other than red-faced jam jar of righteous anger Jonny Bairstow breaking sweat?

Maybe we could find out by playing the match in lab conditions. Alternatively, they could just play in normal conditions – whatever the hell they might be.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. I’m nervous. Everyone feels a bit too relaxed after the India game. There’s a really good chance we’re going to balls this up.

    1. Mmm. Less said the better.

      Anyway, never mind that, what are Somerset playing at? They already have a 400-run lead, keep losing late wickets and haven’t declared. A handful more runs versus the chance of a few horrible overs for Hampshire, that’s a no-brainer right?

      1. Right!

        Need to win this to keep the pressure on Essex, who look set for another crushing win… seems strange to think I was recently routing for Essex against Hants, who at the time looked like emerging from the chasing pack.

  2. In the matter of New Zealand and your article suggesting that they were the team people least needed to watch…

    …there is a rich irony in the way this tournament is now panning out.

    If New Zealand beat England the door is open for Pakistan to walk through and take the fourth slot from England.

    If England beat New Zealand comfortably, since the Aussies thrashed the Kiwis the other day, the net run rate equation could get very interesting, opening the possibility for Pakistan to take the fourth slot from New Zealand if Pakistan can beat Bangladesh well.

    In short, New Zealand’s fortunes (or lack thereof) have become absolutely pivotal to the last two slots, which could be filled by any two of the three teams still in the hunt for them.

    Irony. Cricket.

  3. Playing the match in lab conditions would lead to a lot of bashed bunsen burners, pummelled pipettes, broken bungs, lacerated laminar flow cabinets, and other alliterative damage, given the presence of so many aggressive batsmen.

    Also, they’d be too warm in white coats over their kit, it’s hot today.

    1. Morgan just gone, Sam. That was irresponsible of you to show such unfettered optimism so early in the match. It’s on you if England bugger this up…

  4. Very mixed feelings here, as Somerset’s massive win is confirmed at almost the same time as Buttler gets out, leaving England’s position looking distinctly less comfortable than it looked half an hour ago :-S

  5. Chris Woakes and a dodgy umpiring decision in conjunction with poor judgement not to review has made the OP-mooted situation a very real possibility…

  6. Spaking is now possible, I think. The outcome of this match has long seemed like a foregone conclusion, but I certainly wasn’t about to say that. However, with NZ now eight down and needing 100 an over (at least), I am calling it.

    All my fault if England lose from here {sigh}

      1. I was devastated last weekend when, when attending a different bat-and-ball sport, the traditional playing of ‘Sweet Caroline’ for the “home” fans was cut short, forcing the Bostonian faithful (and, maybe, me – they were serving beer in 2-pint cups….) to continue accapella. The tune was carried, broadly speaking.

  7. Well, let’s go and beat the Aussies then.

    Step 1: Lock Warner and Starc in the toilets.

    Step 2: Pray.

    1. Terrific result, no way I wanna meet Eng in the SF. This is what I was hoping for.

    2. The mere fact that England are to be playing at Edgbaston usually averts the need for lavatorial imprisonment and/or seeking divine inspiration, Sam.

      1. From my experience of Edgbaston’s lavatorial facilities on match day, a quick tinkle would be enough to delay the players for a good few hours. Crushed like sardines, if you will.

      2. “Our momentum got halted a little bit today, but we will train our backsides off and we will prepare well and we will bring elite professionalism and make sure come Thursday we are firing.” – Nathan Lyon.

  8. On a completely different note, those adverts featuring Rooooot are hilarious/embarrassing. They appear to have splurged their entire budget on signing him up, leaving nothing for any sort of production values. He is literally reading the script off a monitor next to the camera. Unbelievably shit.

  9. Saw it for the first time last night. Almost had to hide behind the sofa. Cringe-tastic.

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