New Zealand all-rounder Daryl Mitchell believes stand-in T20 captain Mitchell Santner is currently one of the best spinners in white-ball cricket after the left-arm tweaker's impressive outing against India in the series opener in Ranchi. (More Cricket News)
Santner returned with miserly figures of 2/11 from his four overs to set up New Zealand's 21-run win over India in the first T20I of the three-match series on Friday.
Santner bowled a splendid spell and kept India under check by bowling a maiden over to Suryakumar Yadav in powerplay.
"He is one of the best spinners in world cricket with the white ball at the moment," Mitchell, who was adjudged man-of-the-match for his 30-ball unbeaten 50, said at the post-match media interaction.
He picked up the wicket of in-form Shubman Gill, who inspired India to a 3-0 sweep over the Kiwis in the preceding ODI series.
"He (Santner) keeps proving his class. It was a very special spell by him that put us in a good position to win. He has done it for a long time now, we are very lucky to have him," Mitchell said.
Put in, New Zealand got off to a fine start with opener Devon Conway smashing 52 off 35 balls, while Finn Allen made a quickfire 35 off 23 balls as the visitors set India a a challenging target of 177.
"I thought the partnerships that Finn and Dev (Conway) did early and obviously Glenn (Phillips) and Dev as well allowed us to take the innings deeper and allowed us to put some pressure on India towards the end of the innings," Mitchell said.
"It was about constantly adapting, trying to find ways to put pressure back on their bowlers."
On the spin-friendly Ranchi track, New Zealand spinners -- Santner, Ish Sodhi (1/30) and Michael Bracewell (2/31) -- picked up five wickets for 72 runs from 11 overs to derail India's chase.
"It was definitely challenging at times through the middle, especially with the spinners," Mitchell said.
"I guess that gave us confidence going into it with the ball that with 180 odd on the board, if we could bowl really well and build some pressure and hopefully the dew doesn't come down, then we knew we'd be in that ballpark," he added.