New Zealand all-rounder Daryl Mitchell lauded captain Mitchell Santner for his economical 2/11 in the first T20I against India at JSCA International Stadium, saying the left-arm spinner is one of the best tweakers in white-ball cricket at the moment.
In his four overs, Santner, the New Zealand captain, bowled a mesmerising spell of 2/11 in four overs, including 18 dot balls and bowling a maiden to an in-form Suryakumar Yadav in the final over of power-play.
He got a lot of grip and turned the ball square while being accurate to take out Shubman Gill and Deepak Hooda on a Ranchi pitch which heavily favoured spinners as New Zealand got their first win of the tour through a 21-run victory and took a 1-0 lead in the three-game series.
"He's one of the best spinners in world cricket with the white ball at the moment. He keeps proving his class. That was a very special spell by him and put us in a good position to win.
He's done it a long time for New Zealand now - very lucky to have him," he said in the post-match press conference. Pushed into batting first, New Zealand reached 176/6, thanks to half-centuries from opener Devon Conway striking 52 from 35 balls and Mitchell smashing 59 not out off 30 balls, including 27 off the final over.
They were also supported by opener Finn Allen's quickfire 35 from 23 balls. "I thought the partnerships that Finn and Dev did early and obviously Glenn (Phillips) and Dev as well allowed us to take the innings deeper and allowed us to put some pressure on India towards the end of the innings.
It was about constantly adapting, trying to find ways to put pressure back on their bowlers," he added. Mitchell signed off by admitting that touching nearly 180 through him hitting three sixes and a four in the final over off a wayward Arshdeep Singh gave some hope of defending the total to the visitors.
"It was definitely challenging at times through the middle, especially with the spinners - I guess that gave us confidence going into it with the ball that with 180-ish on the board. If we could bowl really well and build some pressure and hopefully the dew doesn't come down then we knew we'd be in that ballpark."