Home Ground Advantage for Santner
On Wednesday, New Zealand spinner Mitch Santner had the added advantage of playing on his home turf, the MA Chidambaram Stadium, the home ground of his Indian Premier League franchise, Chennai Super Kings.
Santner’s Stellar Performance
With the support of his CSK fans, Santner played a crucial role in dismantling Afghanistan’s middle and lower order, ending the game with impressive figures of 3/39, contributing to New Zealand’s 149-run victory.
Experience on Indian Pitches
“The wickets here are similar to what we’ve played on during the IPL,” Santner commented, referring to his familiarity with the conditions at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. “Today, the pitch swung a bit and spun more under the lights, which was advantageous since we lost the toss and batted first.”
Leading the Wicket-Taking Charts
With an impressive start to the tournament, Santner now leads the wicket-taking charts across all teams, boasting 11 wickets in New Zealand’s four matches so far.
Reaching a Milestone
Santner’s first wicket in Chennai saw him join the ranks of fellow spinner Daniel Vettori as the second Black Caps spinner to reach 100 One Day International dismissals. “Reaching this milestone is gratifying,” the left-arm spinner admitted.
Double the Tally of the Next Highest Spinner
Santner’s exceptional performance on Indian pitches has not only put him at the top of the overall wicket-taking charts, but also allowed him to take nearly twice as many wickets as the next highest spinner, Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan.
Teamwork is Key
However, the 31-year-old attributes his success more to the pressure created by his team’s opening bowlers. “We’ve been bowling in partnerships, which is our strategy. The exceptional job done by Boult and Matt Henry in increasing the run rate forced the opposition to play bigger shots in the middle overs,” Santner explained.
Partnership with Lockie Ferguson
Santner also highlighted the advantage of bowling in tandem with Kiwi speedster Lockie Ferguson during the middle overs. “When he’s bowling at 150 km/h, the opposition might try to take me on a bit more, which works in my favor,” Santner added.
Impressive Fielding Skills
Santner’s performance against Afghanistan wasn’t just impressive with the ball. His outstanding catch helped dismiss the opposition’s skipper Hashmatullah Shahidi. “I was lucky to have long arms and was able to pluck it out. It was a key moment in the game,” Santner said.
Upcoming Match Against India
Santner and his undefeated New Zealand team are set to face tournament hosts India in Dharamsala on Sunday.