Opener Daryl Mitchell said on Wednesday it was “great” to play a leading role New Zealand’s five-wicket win over England and reached their first T20 World Cup final ever. Mitchell smashed an unbeaten 72 after Jimmy Neesham turned the semifinal on its head with an 11-ball 27 to help New Zealand chase their 167 target in 19 overs in Abu Dhabi. It will be the third World Cup final for Kane Williamson’s team in two years after losing to England in the 2019 50-over World Cup and then beating India in the first Test Championship earlier in 2021.
“Look, we’re a bunch of Kiwis. There’s only five million of us, so we’re obviously very proud to represent our country,” said Mitchell, man of the match.
“We’ve had some success over the last few years. We’re going to enjoy the win tonight, but then we’re moving on pretty fast.
“We know we have a final on Sunday, and whoever we take on should be a lot of fun.”
New Zealand take on Australia or Pakistan in the title fight on November 14 in Dubai.
Mitchell, who smashed four fours and four sixes in his 47-ball blitz, is playing in his first T20 World Cup after his international debut in 2019.
After Neesham’s wicket, Mitchell struck Chris Woakes for two sixes and one four to unleash celebrations in the dugout.
“It is, of course, a great honor to represent my country at a World Cup,” said Mitchell. “If you had said that five, six years ago, I would have laughed at you, so sitting here now is wonderful.”
New Zealand were in trouble early on with 13-2 with Martin Guptill and captain Kane Williamson back in the pavilion.
Mitchell and Devon Conway, who made 46, then scored 82 runs for the third wicket, but runs were still difficult to come by as England changed their bowling options.
Glenn Phillips was out and New Zealand fell back to 107-4 when Neesham stepped in and changed the course of the game with Mitchell when the pair scored 40 off 17 balls.
Mitchell said he never believed the target was out of reach.
“No, it probably sounds strange, but it never felt like it was out of our grasp,” Mitchell said.
“I think especially with that smaller side border on the one hand, we knew there were going to be matches that we could fit into the end.
“I thought the way ‘Neesh’ came out and really dominated that one really got the momentum on the way to that last couple, so yeah, take my hat off to him. He played a hell of a beat.”
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