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Santner the catalyst in Kiwi charge

Mitchell Santner, Daniel Vettori, New Zealand, Sodhi
Mitchell Santner has been the revelation of this World T20 flummoxing his opposition with sheer poise and panache.

They came in to the tournament as dark horses led by a young and dashing skipper in Kane Williamson.  Now with 3 straight wins against the top teams in their group, this Kiwi side is gunning for glory and how.

Defending totals in T20Is is usually a stiff challenge – just ask the Proteas who couldn’t defend a formidable 229 runs on the board versus England, but the Black Caps have achieved that versus hosts India, Australia and Pakistan and marched into the semis with aplomb.

WILLIAMSON’S WELL-OILED UNIT

What’s exciting about this Kiwi side is that along with the West Indies they boast one of the most well balanced T20 sides, with a heady mix of all-rounders, dynamic hitters and promising spinners. With Guptill holding fort at the top with some pulsating performances, the likes of Corey Anderson and Ross Taylor have played their part in shoring up the middle-order. Grant Elliot and Luke Ronchi have provided some late fireworks to give that extra boost and push towards a flourish. Besides all the big names, one unheralded 24 year-old has been making the biggest headlines.

SANTNER TAKES ON MANTLE FROM VETTORI

For years Daniel Vettori was a permanent fixture and often the star in the Kiwi side with his left arm spin, and in a newer and more dynamic avatar – New Zealand has found itself a man to take on that mantle. Mitchell Santner has been the revelation of this World T20 flummoxing his opposition with sheer poise and panache. The left-arm spinner announced his arrival by weaving his magic versus hosts India and grabbing a stunning 4 for 11 to help his side through to victory. Next up was Australia – and Santner was at it again claiming 2 for 29, taking the prized scalps of David Warner and skipper Steve Smith as he and McClenagan set up victory whilst defending a mediocre total of 142. On Tuesday against Afridi’s men, Santner weaved his web once again – dismissing Khalid Latif and opener Ahmed Shehzad to put the brakes on the Pakistani run chase. What’s more this kid can bat too, capable of some big hitting when called upon.

With Ish Sodhi for support, this new look Kiwi side has all the traits of Dhoni’s class of 2007. A young and fearless skipper and bowlers who are rallying around and doing their job in tricky conditions. Clearly, Santner has been the star thus far, and Williamson will be hoping that the Kiwis finally fulfil their true potential and lift their maiden World title this Summer.

 

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