Abu Dhabi: A knockout match that was slowly slipping away from the Blackcaps saw an unbelievable turnaround with New Zealand opener Daryl Mitchell coming to the party by playing a match-defining inning against England in the T20 World Cup semi-final, the tales of which he would be proud to tell his grandkids.

Mitchell anchored the innings beautifully as the Blackcaps found themselves in a spot of bother after losing Martin Guptill and captain Kane Williamson in quick succession with not much on the board in a run-chase where the Kiwis were behind the ball game for most of their inning.

The 30-year-old Player of the Match blazed his way to an unbeaten 47-ball 72 to play a pivotal role in the five-wicket victory that seemed unlikely before a flurry of sixes from James Neesham and the opener himself brought the equation down to 20 in the last two overs.

Mitchell, though, finished the job with an over to spare with two sixes and a four in the penultimate over.

“It was a bit of a whirl at the end there. I couldn’t remember what was going on, but I’m happy I got the job done,” Mitchell said at the presentation ceremony.

“It was a challenging surface, with the new ball, and it was two-paced. The way (Devon) Conway set the platform and Neesh hit a few out of the ground was amazing. We knew one or two good overs would do it, and we got the momentum back thanks to Neesham’s hitting.

“With what’s going on around the world right now, it’s amazing that my old man (his father) travelled halfway around the world to watch me play, so this is a proud moment.”

In the game, Conway made an invaluable 46, and alongside Mitchell, played a part in keeping the Kiwis in the game.

(With PTI Inputs)