By Niall Anderson in London

Mitchell Santner watched as teammate after teammate trudged back to the pavilion. He felt the game get tighter. He listened to the roars getting louder.

The lanky left-hander took a deep breath. Analysed the situation. Soaked it all in.

And hit the game-winning boundary.


Santner was a portrait of calm, as others around him imploded in the Black Caps' narrow two-wicket Cricket World Cup victory over Bangladesh.

Chasing 245 for their second straight win to open the tournament, the Black Caps looked set for a comfortable chase at 160-2, with 19 overs remaining.

Then Kane Williamson and Tom Latham were both caught in deep, playing unnecessarily lofted shots. Jimmy Neesham met the same demise, Colin de Grandhomme played a silly stroke, and Ross Taylor nibbled at a delivery down the legside.

Suddenly, Santner was the only batsman left, with Matt Henry walking out to the wicket, and the pair still requiring 27 from 39 balls. Quite the situation to experience in your first World Cup innings.

Mitchell Santner celebrates hitting the winning runs. Photo / Photosport
Mitchell Santner celebrates hitting the winning runs. Photo / Photosport

"Everyone was feeling the pressure at that stage, and I thought we were cruising there for a while," said Santner post-match.

"We didn't need a huge run rate so it was about chewing up the balls and then trying to hit the bad ball away. Those were the conversations out there – just keep it relaxed and calm in a very tense situation."

Not helping was the noise coming from the increasingly jubilant Bangladeshi crowd.

"It certainly felt like we were the away team today. When they started getting on top, it was pretty loud out there."


A sea of green and red, there was no doubt which team The Oval crowd was supporting, but there was rapid doubt about whether the Black Caps could silence them.

Santner had been in these situations before, albeit with lower stakes. His last-ball six had given Chennai Super Kings an Indian Premier League victory in April, while he had hit the winning runs in the final over of an ODI against Pakistan in 2016, and against England in 2018.

This, though? This was different. This was a World Cup match on the line, and one which he had already made a significant impact in.

The off-spinner had conceded just 41 runs from his 10 overs, tying down Bangladesh, who could only hit him for two boundaries. Add in the scalp of Mahmudullah, with a deliciously slow, flighted temptation, and some excellent work in the field, and it was all shaping up to be a productive afternoon's work.

The only problem? He was running out of partners. Neesham fell four balls after Santner arrived, and while he comfortably picked off runs from his end, Henry's dismissal left No 10 Lockie Ferguson on strike in the middle of the 47th over, still needing seven runs to win.

Ferguson survived an inside edge onto his pads first ball, soundly blocked the next, watched two wides fly by, then nicked – or he might claim, guided – the final ball of the over down to third man for four.

That put Santner back on strike with the scores level, as the crowd roared for one last twist in the tail.

Not for the first time, Santner shut them up.