A powerful combination of aggression and enjoyment is working wonders for the Black Caps, who racked up their third successive win to secure a spot in the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 in India.
Opener Martin Guptill smashed his 10th half-century in international T20s as the New Zealanders eased to a 22-run over Pakistan in Mohali on Wednesday.
The right-hander hit 10 fours and three sixes in his 48-ball 80, sharing an opening stand of 62 with captain Kane Williamson after an unchanged New Zealand won the toss on a green-tinged surface.
Guptill also combined with Corey Anderson (21) for a third-wicket stand of 52 that set the platform for Ross Taylor (36 not out) to finish with a flourish that left New Zealand on 5-180.
Guptill said New Zealand’s attacking approach had played a big part in securing wins over India, Australia and Pakistan.
The Black Caps’ final round robin match against Bangladesh is on Saturday (NZT), but their first appearance in the World T20 semi-finals since the inaugural tournament in 2007 is now assured.
“We’ve got the mindset of being aggressive and just going out and having a bit of fun,” Guptill said.
“We have to keep going out to have a bit of fun, and back ourselves to the best of our abilities.
“If we can do that again against Bangladesh, who knows – we could go through unbeaten.”
While the batting has been superb, Guptill also hailed the effort of the bowling attack to recover after Sharjeel Khan and Ahmed Shehzad put on 65 in 5.3 overs for the opening wicket.
But once Sharjeel holed out to Guptill off Adam Milne, New Zealand began to haul back the run rate, Santner – who went for 15 runs from his opening over – finishing with 2-29 off his four overs, with Milne claiming 2-26.
“We didn’t bowl particularly well up front today, but we were able to pull it back through some tight bowling and some good fielding,” Guptill said.
“The boys are pretty happy at the moment, but we know we’ve got another game in a couple of days, to work on the things we didn’t do so well tonight and put them right.”