Daryl Mitchell played innings of his life as he helped New Zealand propel into their first ever ICC T20 World Cup final which is to be played in a few days time in Dubai. The 30-year-old walked into bat with Martin Guptill, but saw him fall soon to Chris Woakes who also managed to dismiss skipper Kane Williamson, leaving Kiwis reduced to 13/2 . From here on, he bid his time and refrained from playing shots as he let Devon Conway take the lead in a 92-run stand for the third wicket. NZ were well placed when part-timer Liam Livingstone accounted for back-to-back wickets of Conway and Glenn Phillips. Nonetheless, this didn’t deter the Kiws from taking risks. They counter attacked through James Neesham. He slammed 27 off just 11 which had three sixes of Chris Jordan over which went for 23 runs. One Neesham departed, Mitchell made sure he kept finding the fence as he hit Chris Woakes, the best bowler at that point, for a couple of sixes and then a boundary to seal the deal with an over to spare.
There was an uncharteristic charm to Mitchell as he finished his innings at 72 off just 47 deliveries, making sure that New Zealand don’t take the game deep which could have jeopardised their chances like 2019 final. The opening batter kept finding the odd boundaries, but chose not to hit every ball out of the park, saving his best for the 18th over where he took Woakes by surprise.
Earlier Moeen Ali smashed an unbeaten 51 to steer England to a challenging 166 for four against New Zealand in the first semi-final of the Twenty20 World Cup. England lost their openers including Jos Buttler for 29, lbw off Ish Sodhi, after being invited to bat first as Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson won an all-important toss in Abu Dhabi. But Moeen hit back with his 37-ball knock and put on a key partnership of 63 with Dawid Malan, who hit 41, for the third wicket.
Pace bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult kept a tight leash in the first three overs before Buttler smashed two successive boundaries. Jonny Bairstow also got a couple of fours but did not look comfortable after being promoted to open in place of the injured Jason Roy. Adam Milne replaced fellow quick Boult from one end to break through as he got Bairstow out for 13 off 17 balls with Williamson taking a sharp catch at mid-off.