Mitchell Santner stood out as the key player for the Blackcaps in the match against the Netherlands, delivering a precise all-around performance that equalled Yuvraj Singh‘s World Cup achievement. Despite their remarkable performance in ICC tournaments across various formats for nearly a decade, New Zealand wasn’t considered one of the top favourites for the World Cup in India.
With numerous injuries in the squad and their runner-up finish in the previous World Cup described as a close call, only a few believed they would reach the semifinals. However, after their first two matches in the tournament, New Zealand is leading the points table with an impressive net run rate.
They began by defeating defending champions England in the tournament opener, seeking revenge for their 2019 loss, and then secured a victory against the Netherlands on Monday in Hyderabad. Mitchell Santner shone as the standout performer for the Blackcaps at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. He delivered a precise all-around performance that rivalled Yuvraj Singh’s remarkable World Cup achievement.
The most notable part of his display was an incredible feat with the bat, scoring 13 runs with a single ball. This event occurred on the final legitimate delivery of New Zealand’s innings in Hyderabad. Netherlands’ Bas de Leede faced the left-handed batter. The intention was to deliver a low full toss outside off, but the ball slipped from the bowler’s hand and went above the waist.
Santner capitalized on it, sending the ball over deep midwicket for a six. As the delivery was a no-ball, Bas de Leede had to re-bowl, and this time he executed his plan. However, the batter comfortably cleared the long-on boundary for another six. De Leede was visibly upset with himself, as this over resulted in Santner scoring 21 runs, starting with a boundary on the very first ball.
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Mitchell Santner remained unbeaten on 36 from 17 as New Zealand set a formidable target of 323
Later, as a bowler, Santner made a significant impact. Despite a challenging start where he conceded 36 runs in his initial five overs while taking two wickets, he made a remarkable comeback. He took crucial wickets in consecutive overs, dismissing Colin Ackermann and Scott Edwards, effectively dashing the hopes of the Netherlands. His final figures of five wickets for 59 runs were the second-best bowling performance by a New Zealand player in India.
By securing a five-wicket haul, he became the third left-arm spinner to achieve this feat in a World Cup, following Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan (5/29 against Afghanistan in 2019) and the legendary Yuvraj Singh (5/31 against Ireland in 2011).
He also joined Yuvraj Singh in the exclusive club of World Cup “doubles” – which means taking five wickets and scoring 30 or more runs in the same match. Yuvraj Singh had scored an unbeaten inning in the mentioned Ireland match. Others on this prestigious list include Kapil Dev (5/43 and 40* against Australia in 1983) and Andy Bichel (7/20 and 34* against England in 2003).