New Zealand captain Kane Williamson heaped praises on Daryl Mitchell after his side pulled off a stunning 5-wicket win over England to reach their maiden ICC T20 World Cup final in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Chasing a challenging 167-run target, New Zealand stumbled early before Mitchell and Devon Conway (46) calmed things down. James Neesham then turned the match on its head, thanks to the 17th over bowled by Chris Jordan, which shifted the momentum in New Zealand’s favour.

Neesham fell for an 11-ball 27, but Mitchell, who came to open the innings, carried his bat and stayed unbeaten on 72 off 47 deliveries to steer Black Caps to scintillating triumph with one over to spare.

After the match, Williamson said that he knew it was going to be a cracker of a game and showered praises on Mitchell for playing an incredible inning.

“Most players have played together in various tournaments. Knew it was going to be a great game of cricket. Thought they had a pretty competitive total. But just by staying in there, building the partnerships and cashing in on some moments, some matchups. Definitely, something that stood out today (Mitchell’s character). Has batted beautifully in a high-pressure situation,” said Williamson at the post-match presentation.

Williamson further reflected on the see-saw contest, stating that the T20 cricket is a game of ‘small margins’. He also lauded Neesham’s knock and termed it as ‘match-defining’.

“T20 cricket – it’s a game of small margins. Depending on the surface, the short side – these things can be match-defining. He came out and hit the ball hard, that’s what he does (Neesham). Changed the momentum, really. Fantastic knock from Daryll, hit the big shots when it counted. We’ll be following that match – going to be fantastic. We know we have another challenge coming up, and we’ll change our focus after tonight,” added Williamson.

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