New Zealand had a lot to cheer about on Sunday as they comprehensively beat Afghanistan to book their place in the 2021 T20 World Cup semi-finals. The New Zealand bowlers put in another terrific performance to restrict the Afghans to a below-par total, which they chased down without much fuss. The Black Caps are renowned for their fielding but even by their lofty standards, Daryl Mitchell pulled off a spectacular save that defied the laws of physics.
In the final over the Afghanistan innings, Mitchell was stationed at the deep mid-wicket boundary with Rashid Khan on strike. Jimmy Neesham dropped it short but Rashid swatted it towards the mid-wicket region.
The ball seemed destined to go for a six, but out of nowhere, Mitchell appeared. The New Zealand opener jumped and plucked the ball out of thin air but with the momentum taking him over the boundary, Mitchell still had the presence of mind to throw the ball back in the field of play, saving four runs for his team as the Afghans completed a double.
Watch Mitchell’s mind-boggling save here:
Rashid Khan’s 400th T20 wicket
Daryl Mitchell’s sensational fielding
Shoaib Malik’s blazing fifty
— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup21) November 8, 2021
Needless to say, fans on Twitter couldn’t believe what they had just witnessed and took to the social media platform to praise the New Zealander.
— Sajid Lodhi Najafi (@SajidLodhi19) November 7, 2021
That was really some unreal and extraordinary boundary save by Daryl Mitchell but it was not at all needed yaar
— Adarsh (@WhyAdarsh) November 7, 2021
— Irfan Ameer (@IrfanAm71763527) November 7, 2021
— Basrani Dev (@MSDIAN___DEV) November 7, 2021
Daryl Mitchell, unreal
— Jaanvi (@ThatCric8Girl) November 7, 2021
In the end, Afghanistan could only manage 124 for eight in their 20 overs. The only bright spark was the batting of Najibullah Zadran, who scored a brilliant 73 off just 48 balls.
Trent Boult and Tim Southee were standout for New Zealand with the ball, taking three and two wickets, respectively.
New Zealand coasted in the chase despite losing Mitchell early. Kane Williamson (40 not out) and Devon Conway (36) strung together a 68-run partnership to take the Kiwis to victory and into the semis.
New Zealand will now face England in semi-final 1 on November 10, Wednesday at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
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