India skipper Hardik Pandya on Sunday slammed the standard of pitches used in the ongoing series against New Zealand and called the track prepared for the second T20I a “shocker”. The ball turned in the first T20I in Ranchi and it was no different on Sunday when New Zealand was restricted to 99 for eight. India chased down the target with only one ball to spare. “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,” said Hardik after the series-leveling win over New Zealand.
“I am all up for that, but these two wickets were 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. Other than that, happy. Even 120 would have been a winning total,” he said.
The series decider will be played in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. “I always believed that we’ll be able to finish the game, but it went quite late. All these games are important with the moments. You don’t need to panic because it was about rotating the strike rather than taking the pressure. That’s exactly what we did. We followed our basics,” he said about the tense finish.
On the bowlers’ impressive performance, he added: “They stuck to their plans and ensured they (New Zealand) did not rotate the strike. We kept rotating the spinners. Dew didn’t play many parts in this. They were able to spin the ball more than us. It was carried through well.” New Zealand skipper Mitchell Santer said 120 could have been a winning total on the surface.
“It was a great game of cricket. To get it so close was a great effort from the bowlers. If we would have got an extra 10 or 15, could have been the difference. The calmness of Surya and Hardik to get them over the line was pretty good.
“We bowled 16 or 17 overs of spin, definitely something different. With the bounce out there, it looked challenging. You are not sure what a good total is. 120 might have been a good score,” said Santner.