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June 27, 2019

Pakistan will be difficult to stop: New Zealand's Mitchell Santner


Thu, Jun 27, 2019

BIRMINGHAM: There was a stage in Pakistan’s run-chase at Edgbaston on Wednesday afternoon when it seemed all-rounder Mitchell Santner would bring New Zealand back in the game on a turning wicket.

Pakistan had lost the experienced Mohammad Hafeez and were looking in a bit of trouble  with 110-3 in 25 overs, chasing 238 to stay alive in the World Cup.

The wicket was offering plenty of turn and Santner was bowling well. But he was unable to stop Babar Azam and Haris Sohail from putting on a match-winning stand of 126.

Santner later hailed Pakistan’s duo for their special effort.

"It's the spinner's role to take wickets on a surface like that, but credit has to go to Pakistan for the way they batted," he told reporters. "That partnership through the middle was pretty special.

"The way they were able to manipulate the field when they were only chasing 237, that was the way to go about it.

"It's not easy (facing Babar). That was a pretty special knock out there today.

"He looked like he had it in him from the word go and the way he paced his innings was pretty special.

"Him and Haris Sohail took it away from us in those middle overs.”

Santner believe that Pakistan’s resurging team would be difficult to stop.

"When teams get momentum, they are difficult to stop.

"Pakistan are right up there with some of the best.

"We saw Pakistan do that in the Champions Trophy and they couldn't be stopped, so they're obviously timing their run well."

"If they win their next two, they're in with a real sniff."

While Pakistan are back in contention, New Zealand, who were unbeaten before Wednesday’s loss, could face a tough time as their next opponents are Australia and England.

But Santner was confident about his team’s chances.

"For sure you want to win every game and if we'd won today it would have been a semi-final spot," he said. "But there's no easy beats in this competition.

"Pakistan have played very well in these conditions before having won the Champions Trophy, so we knew it was going to be a tough game today and it was.

"We scrapped at the end but came on the wrong side of a nail-biter.

"It puts more pressure on us in the final few games but we're going to look to win them and go from there," Santner said.