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Daryl Mitchell, the accidental opener

Before the 2021 T20 World Cup, Daryl Mitchell had never really opened the batting for New Zealand.

He had done it occasionally in domestic cricket but there too, he was mainly a middle order batsman.

As luck would have it, since Tim Seifert, who was who was part of the Kolkata Knight Riders bubble join New Zealand late and later sustained an abdominal strain, Daryl Mitchell, who was promoted to open the batting in the warm up matches as a stopgap solution, kept that place in in the tournament proper as well.

As it turned out, opener Mitchell played a major role in taking New Zealand to the final. He made an impressive 49 against India to all but knock out one of the favorites from the competition.

Mitchell’s most impressive knock of the tournament came in the semi-final against England when he smashed 72 off just 47 deliveries in a thrilling come from behind victory for New Zealand.

This is what Daryl Mitchell, Player of the Match, had to say after the semi-final.

“It was a bit of a whirl at the end there. I couldn’t remember what was going on, but I’m happy I got the job done. It was a challenging surface, with the new ball, and it was two-paced. The way Conway set the platform and Neesh hit a few out of the ground was amazing. We knew one or two good overs would do it, and we got the momentum back thanks to Neesham’s hitting. With what’s going on around the world right now, it’s amazing that my old man travelled halfway around the world to watch me play, so this is a proud moment.”

Mitchell ended up as the joint second highest run scorer for New Zealand in the T20 World Cup 2021 alongside Martin Guptill. He struck 208 runs from 7 matches at an average of 34.66 and a strike rate of 144 with 15 boundaries, 10 sixes and the best of 72 not out in the semi-final against England.

Promoting Mitchell to open not only gives New Zealand a point of difference as the guy has a lot of muscle and can tonk the ball over infield easily but given that he can bowl decent medium pace it also gives the team an extra bowling option which can prove vital in crunch situations.

Clearly, Daryl Mitchell, the accidental opener, is a move that has worked wonders.

Saksham Mishra

Justifying hours of watching sports by scribbling down a few logical lines that might just about hold your interest. Was not talented enough to make it as a professional cricketer, so the next best logical option was to enroll in a Mass Communication course, and write about sports instead. Because, what else is there to write about in this world, right?
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