IND vs NZ: Hardik Pandya not impressed with the pitch in Lucknow and Ranchi for T20I between India and New Zealand
Image: BCCI

IND vs NZ: Team India captain Hardik Pandya slammed the pitch curators in Lucknow and Ranchi after they prepared a “spin-dominant” surface in the T20I game between India and New Zealand. Although team India won the second T20I at Lucknow’s Ekana Stadium, Hardik reckons the pitches in the first two T20Is haven’t been up to the T20 standards.

On a track where the spinners received over 3 degrees turn, Indian bowlers did exceedingly well to bundle New Zealand at a measly total of 99. Paceman Arshdeep Singh scalped two wickets while Hardik Pandya, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal and Deepak Hooda got one wicket each for them.

Chasing a low total, team India was expected to convincingly go over the rope, however, the kiwi bowlers turned the tide in their favour by bowling tight lines on the spin-dominant surface. After 10 overs, India had lost three wickets at a score of 50 and it seemed the way forward for challenging.

Suryakumar Yadav once again rose up to the occasion and stitched vital partnerships with Washington Sundar and Hardik Pandya to take India home in the second T20I against New Zealand. SKY scored an unbeaten 26 of 31 deliveries, perhaps not the most fluent innings but an important one from India’s perspective.

Skipper Hardik Pandya who remained unbeaten at 15 run score from 20 balls, criticised the surface in the post-match presentation and said “these two wickets are not made for T20.”

“To be honest, it was a shocker of a wicket. Both the games we have played 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,” Hardik Pandya said in the post-match presentation.

“I always believed that we’ll be able to finish the game, but it went quite late. All these games are important. 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.

The skipper was extremely pleased with how his bowlers spun their webs. With tight lines and lengths, the Indian bowlers managed to restrict New Zealand batters from rotating strikes easily.

“Other than that, happy. Even 120 would have been a winning total. Bowlers — they stuck to their plan and ensured they did not rotate the strike. We kept rotating the spinners. Dew didn’t play much part in this. They were able to spin the ball more than us. It was carried through well. It was a shocker of a wicket,” Hardik Pandya said.

Team India won the second T20I in Lucknow and levelled the three-match T20I series 1-1. Now the series boils down to the series decider which will be held in Ahmedabad on 1st February 2023.

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