After New Zealand suffered a five-wicket defeat against India in the first T20I on Wednesday in Jaipur, Martin Guptill heaped praise on Ravichandran Ashwin, and stated that the off-spinner has not bowled any bad balls throughout his career. He further stated that Ashwin is very hard to get away.
After losing the T20 World Cup 2021 final to Australia, New Zealand suffered yet another blow as they went down to India by five wickets in the opener of the three-match T20I series. After being asked to bat first, Martin Guptill (70) and Mark Chapman (63) stitched up a 109-run stand for the second wicket, and helped New Zealand to reach 164/6 at the end of the innings. For India, Ravichandran Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers as he scalped two crucial wickets by conceding just 23 runs off his four overs.
India’s newly appointed T20I captain Rohit Sharma (48) and Suryakumar Yadav (62) powered the Men in Blue to a five-wicket win over the Black Caps, and took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Ashwin has been very impressive since his return to white-ball cricket after long four years. Despite the Men in Blue’s early exit from the T20 World Cup 2021, Ashwin displayed a great bowling performance for Team India in the group stage. On Wednesday, the off-spinner clinched the wickets of Chapman and Glenn Philips to put the New Zealand batting line-up under pressure.
Meanwhile, Martin Guptill stated that Ravichandran Ashwin is a clever bowler, and he has not bowled any bad deliveries throughout his career.
"He is a very wily bowler. He has got great control of his line and length. He just doesn't bowl bad balls. I don't remember he bowling any bad balls throughout his career.
"His change of pace is so subtle and well controlled he is just very hard to get away," said Guptill at the post-match conference.
Reflecting on New Zealand’s two successive defeats in the shortest format, Guptill stated that his team played quality cricket in the last two games, but the final result was not in favor of the Black Caps.
"We have not played bad in the last two games. It is just we're just coming out on the wrong side. It's the way cricket can go. It's certainly different (scheduling). A World Cup final two days ago and then jump on a plane and here we are in India playing another one, " he said.
Speaking on New Zealand’s performance in the first T20I, Guptill and lauded Chapman for his exuberant performance with the bat, and stated that his team were 10 runs short.
"It was not ideal losing in the first over, but the way Chappy (Chapman) adapted having not played a lot of cricket lately to coming in and spending some time in the middle and to put on 100 partnership with him and set up for the death phase, really help the team get to that competitive total.
"We were still 10 run shorts where we could have been, I don't think we quite nailed the end of the death phase as well as we could have, but that could happen. "And I think the bowlers did extremely well to pull it back after they (India) go off to a fairly quick start, so to lose within a couple of balls to spare, we weren't far off," said Guptill.
New Zealand will face India in the second T20I on Friday, November 19 in Ranchi.