New Zealand’s Mitchell Santner Anticipates Thrilling Trans-Tasman T20 Series Against Australia
Any lingering disappointment from New Zealand’s missed T20 clean sweep against Pakistan was swiftly replaced by anticipation as Mitchell Santner, the Black Caps T20 captain, eagerly looked ahead to a captivating three-match series against Australia.
The Black Caps fell short of a series sweep against Pakistan, losing by 42 runs in Christchurch while chasing a modest target of 135. Despite this setback, they would have gladly accepted a 4-1 triumph at the series onset.
The focus now shifts to the Trans-Tasman T20 showdown against Australia, commencing on February 21 in Wellington.
Santner expressed his excitement, especially with the matches set to take place on home soil, anticipating lively crowds. Following the opener at Wellington’s Sky Stadium, the series will move to Auckland’s Eden Park on February 23 and 25, where the smaller ground size promises an abundance of runs.
“It would be nice if the crowd get stuck into them,” Mitchell Santner quipped. Reflecting on the challenge, he added, “I think it’s a bit of a waiting game to see what kind of team they send, but even their young players coming through the [Australian] Big Bash look very dangerous.”
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The upcoming Australian T20 series holds significance for the Black Caps, serving as a crucial preparation step before a five-match T20 away series against Pakistan in April, followed by the T20 World Cup in the US and West Indies in June.
The absence of New Zealand’s IPL contingent for the Pakistan tour adds to the importance of the Trans-Tasman series. In their previous T20 series against Australia in New Zealand in 2021, the Black Caps emerged victorious with a 3-2 win.
Santner acknowledged the missed opportunity for a historic 5-0 series sweep against Pakistan but highlighted the return of key players, including Kane Williamson, Devon Conway, and Daryl Mitchell, for the upcoming clashes with Australia.
The Black Caps’ next cricket assignment is a two-match test series against a second-string South Africa, starting in Tauranga from February 4-8.
Finn Allen’s exceptional batting performance, amassing 275 runs from five innings, and the bowling prowess displayed by Tim Southee and Adam Milne in the recent T20 series against Pakistan have left Santner optimistic about the team’s adaptability and execution on varied conditions.
“On some flat wickets, the bowlers did a very good job of defending the side, especially here at Hagley,” Santner commended. “We talk about adapting with the ball, and I thought as a unit we did that very well and found what the hardest shot was to hit out there, and the bowlers executed very well.