IND vs NZ | Both game so far had shocking wickets, lashes out Hardik Pandya

IND vs NZ | Both game so far had shocking wickets, lashes out Hardik Pandya

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Hardik Pandya expressed dismay over the pitch's behaviour in the opening two games of the T20I series against New Zealand



Hardik Pandya chose not to mince his words after a closely fought second T20I against New Zealand as he harshly criticized the pitch, stating the surface wasn't ideal for T20 cricket. The skipper went on to give a low down on how the game played out before expressing faith in his team's abilities.

India were clinical with both the bat and the ball at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow on Sunday to secure a five-wicket victory and level the three-match T20I series against New Zealand. The Men in Blue had restricted the Kiwis to a paltry total of 99/8 but faltered in what seemed like an easy chase as the pitch played all kinds of tricks on the batsmen. A rank turner with unpredictable bounce, the nature of the pitch was such that all of Lockie Ferguson, Jacob Duffy and Blair Tickner bowled just one over each as skipper Mitchell Santner chose the likes of part-time spinners Mark Chapman and Glenn Phillips over his primary pace trio. The surface was much like what the hosts experienced in the second innings of the opening game in Ranchi with even the new Kookaburra turning square.

Speaking in the post-match presentation, Indian skipper Hardik Pandya did not hold back in his criticism of the pitches, labelling them unsuitable for the shortest format of the game.   

“To be honest, it was a shocker of a wicket. Both the games we have played on so far. I don’t mind difficult wickets. I am all up for that, but these two wickets are not made for T20. Somewhere down the line, the curators or the grounds that we are going to play in should make sure they prepare the pitches earlier,” he was quoted saying by The Indian Express.

The Indian spin quartet of Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and Deepak Hooda all excelled to return combined figures of 4/55 in their 13 overs but conditions seemed to get even worse as the game wore on. At the halfway stage, India were at just 49/2, still needing 51 more to get, before Rahul Tripathi fell in the 11th over. However, Washington Sundar and Suryakumar Yadav seemed to be finally driving India towards a comfortable win when a mix-up cost the former his wicket. The incoming Pandya and Yadav showed incredible restraint to play differently from their usual flamboyant selves, the two eventually stitching together a 31-run partnership off 32 deliveries to get the team across with just a ball to spare.

“Even 120 would have been a winning total here. Our bowlers stuck to their plans and ensured that they (New Zealand batsmen) did not rotate the strike. We kept rotating the spinners. Dew didn’t play a part in this match. Their spinners were able to spin the ball more than us. It was carrying through well,” Pandya shared his key aspects of the encounter.

“I always believed that we would be able to finish the game, but it went quite late. All these games are important with the moments,” he added.

The series would now be decided at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad on February 1.

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