Mitchell Santner was the key to ‘old-school’ New Zealand win according to former captain Daniel Vettori. PHOTOSPORT

Vettori lauds Santner as key to BLACKCAPS win in London

Column by Daniel Vettori for ICC.COM
It doesn’t matter how you win at this stage of the tournament – getting the two points was vital for New Zealand against Bangladesh.

The result looked pretty comfortable at one stage but Bangladesh, to their credit, fought back really well and it made for an intriguing contest, one of the games of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup so far.

It was nice to have an old-school game of one-day cricket. I thought both teams bowled very well – Bangladesh have a strong spin attack and we’re seeing the bowlers playing a much bigger role at the Oval than many people expected.

We came into the tournament expecting 350 to play 350 in every game, mostly due to how England have enjoyed success at home.

But good bowling attacks are still good bowling attacks, the Bangladesh and New Zealand sides were certainly that and it’s nice for their efforts to make the big difference in the game with less than 500 runs in total in the match.

I was very impressed with Matt Henry who continued where he left off. Kane Williamson will be really happy with him as a wicket option, he used a few more short balls this time as well and has shown he has a few different things in the locker.

But for me Mitch Santner was the most impressive. It shows how much he has come on that New Zealand felt they could use him late on, in overs 40-50, he has so much control now and is both a defensive and attacking spin bowler.

He went for one four and one six in the whole innings and was a really key part of that attack.

Mitch has been exceptionally unfortunate with injuries but now we’re seeing exactly why the selectors picked him from a young age. They saw the talent and he’s shown he has the ability, not just with the ball but in the field and with the bat too.

He can handle the pressure and has shown he can dominate all three disciplines. The way he kept his head at the end was pretty significant, wickets were falling around him but he looked so calm and got the job done for his country.

It wasn’t the cleanest performance with the bat but once again Williamson and Ross Taylor did exactly what they did best, you always feel in control when they’re at the crease.

The two of them have a track record when it comes to run-outs and it almost cost them dearly in this game. They got lucky and if Williamson was out earlier that would have really changed the game, so that’s something they have to rectify.

But credit is due to Bangladesh for the way they kept fighting, they made those run-out chances happen put pressure on the batsmen, both with the ball and in the field.

Next up is Afghanistan and with two wins, that game is not quite as daunting. It’s still a big one but New Zealand have had a good start to the tournament.

Afghanistan will be excited to play at Taunton, it’s a fun place for them to go and with their team of spinners, they’ll be more suited to the pitch.

Cardiff didn’t suit them as much but they should go into that match with the confidence to play.

They won’t have played New Zealand much and that’s exciting in itself. It’s a big challenge but the Black Caps will prepare well – especially for the likes of Rashid Khan who many of the team won’t have faced before.

But that is what a World Cup is all about, trying new challenges and playing against top teams – so it’s a game that both teams can really look forward to.

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