India will be tough to beat, assessing conditions will be vital, says New Zealand spinner Santner

Chennai, October 19

New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner feels assessing the conditions in Dharamsala and countering an in-form Rohit Sharma will be vital as they eye the “tough” task of beating India at home during their World Cup clash on Sunday.

New Zealand have done well to adapt to the different conditions in the World Cup. The Black Caps, who have won all four of their games in the tournament so far, have played in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Chennai.

“There has been a little pace and bounce. But whether that is the case when we play them, we’ll see,” Santner said after New Zealand’s 149-run win over Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Rohit has looked in imperious form at the top, playing brilliant knocks of 86 against Pakistan and 131 against Afghanistan to fashion huge victories.

“I think power play with the ball is going to be very important. The way Rohit’s kind of getting them off to a flyer. And so, I think we have to do similar stuff to what we’re doing.

“Every pitch we’ve played on has been slightly different. We have to treat it very similarly leading into the game against India, assess the conditions, see what’s going to work the best with ball, with bat, build those partnerships and try to take them deep and see what happens.” Searching for their maiden title, New Zealand have so far beaten holders England, Netherlands, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, in the tournament.

“We’ve just got to kind of keep doing us, keep focused on the things we want to and how we want to play. And obviously, it’s nice to be in this position to lead into this game.

Familiar with the conditions at the MA Chidambaram Stadium having played for the Chennai Super Kings, Santner had a spectacular game. The spin all-rounder took three scalps and plucked the ball midair to complete a stunning catch.

“I guess when we turn up here for IPL, we’ve played on wickets that kind of look similar to that. Today, it looked like it swung a little bit and actually spun a little bit more under lights, which kind of helped that we lost the toss and batted first,” he said.

“It’s nice to be playing here, watched a lot of games here and played the odd one, and speak for Dev (Conway) as well, it’s pretty cool to play in front of some loyal fans.” Ibrahim Zadran’s wicket saw Santner become just the second Black Caps spinner to reach 100 ODI dismissals, after former skipper Daniel Vettori.

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