Kane Williamson and his boys might have done enough to clinch a semi-final spot Getty

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson didn't read too much into the tough conditions that made batting second slightly difficult, rather choosing to give credit to England for their convincing 119-run victory that sealed the semifinal passage for the hosts. Meanwhile, New Zealand have still done enough to collect 11 points despite three consecutive losses and have all but sealed their place as the fourth placed team. Pakistan, who can reach 11 points, need to win by improbable margins against Bangladesh to topple New Zealand from the fourth position.

While agreeing that the conditions have not been ideal while chasing, Williamson urged his team to play smarter cricket on tougher surfaces while he also mentioned that lack of partnerships brought about their downfall against England.

"Going into that second half we just needed a couple of big partnerships, certainly from the top order and it wasn't there. And, you know, by no means was it an easy surface to try and gain momentum but at the same time it was important as a batting unit we were able to try and take the game to a position where you might give yourself a chance to win it, but we weren't able to do that.

"We are thinking about our cricket and where we can improve and, without a doubt, it's trying to take smarter options on some of these tougher surfaces. The experiences that we have had on some fairly tough surfaces are really important learnings to I guess take note of and try and be better for having had that experience," Williamson said.

Although England lost some momentum midway into their innings, a fine platform provided by the Bairstow-Roy association that yielded 123 runs helped the hosts finish with an imposing total of 305, which according to Williamson made all the difference.

"It (the nature of the pitch) probably changed about sort of the halfway stage of the England innings, but it's also one of those things, they played extremely well and when they do have momentum, often it can be a big challenge regardless of the surface to stop. So they put us under a lot of pressure and hit through the line nicely, but I think, as we saw, that became a lot harder to do when guys, other guys came out to bat later on, and it allowed us to stem the flow," said Williamson, adding that being aggressive with the ball is the best way to counter attacking starts from the batsmen.

"Taking early wickets against anybody that you come up against is the best way to stem momentum and, as we have seen, the wickets have changed a lot, so you get on a surface that is a bit harder to hit through the line, then perhaps it's not as free-flowing and we know when those two -- and a number of others in their line-up to be fair -- are going they can be very difficult to stop, especially on very good surfaces which generally we do see over in England. So it is a challenge, but I guess trying to be aggressive with the ball in hand to give yourself the opportunity to take those wickets I think is the best way to try and stop, I guess, anybody from getting away on you."

With New Zealand most likely to make it to the semi-final stage, Williamson wanted his team-mates to play with freedom and leave the past behind.

"If you are in a knockout stage where it's the semifinal opportunity where certainly on the day anything can happen. And we know from our perspective that we haven't put out our best performance yet and we know when we do that without a doubt gives us the best chance of beating anybody. If we are fortunate to be in a semifinal, then we do have a little bit of a break and we need guys to come back together in terms of our first training and have that freshness to go out and play with the freedom."