King Kane. Sir Kane. Captain Kane. Call him any variation of that and he’s deserving of the title.
Another match-winning century from the man who will go down as our greatest batsman, if he’s not there already.
He took blows to the body, faced a stern test on a pitch that proved incredibly difficult for nearly everyone else to get used to and he had to watch as the team lost wickets at crucial times around him.
His innings, yet again, was immense and will go down as one of the best in his ODI career. Williamson will get his fair share of praise and adulation.
But I want to talk about someone else.
Sixty crucial runs
Colin de Grandhomme’s 60 will get lost in Williamson’s wonder and probably rightfully so. However, it’s no doubt of equal importance.
De Grandhomme is a much maligned, often curious batting case and certainly one that you expect a bit of a wild ride with if you’re following every ball of his innings’. He’s not afraid to come in and play his shots, even in situations like this morning.
De Grandhomme entered with the Black Caps 137/5, still needing 105 to win on the two-paced pitch. A pitch most found uncomfortable with variable pace and bounce.
In four balls, he had eight runs and set New Zealand back on course. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t help wondering when the big swing for the rafters was coming, resulting in the seemingly inevitably premature end. It didn’t. Not prematurely, anyway.
The quiet Aces all-rounder played an innings that proved why Gary Stead and his predecessor Mike Hesson, along with captains Williamson and McCullum, put so much faith in him.
His numbers, overall, are decent enough, but too often he’s got himself out when it matters. Not today. He still played his shots, but he played them with the precision of a heart surgeon and the brutality of a heavyweight boxer.
But, even more importantly, de Grandhomme expertly rotated the strike and kept the score ticking over, just when the Black Caps couldn’t afford to fall behind the run-rate. He was Williamson’s perfect foil and the Proteas’ worst nightmare.
When de Grandhomme got out, albeit going for that trademark hefty blow over square, it was, for all intents and purposes, job done.
Yeah, it left a relatively nerve-wracking last couple of overs, but with Williamson there, I think deep down most Black Caps fans knew the Black Caps were home.
They were home because of Williamson’s heroics for the umpteenth time. But they were also home due to a never-celebrated, often ridiculed player. Someone who can frustrate fans but frustrate and bruise the opposition in equal amounts. The Black Caps need more of it from him, there’s no doubt about that.
But, for now, celebrate a simply superb knock that will play second fiddle to one of New Zealand’s best World Cup innings.
It was Williamson at his quite wondrous best, but it was also de Grandhomme standing up at his team’s time of need. Take a bow, Colin, you deserve some praise.