IND vs NZ: Indian skipper Hardik Pandya slams Lucknow pitch after last-over win over New Zealand


Indian T20 captain Hardik Pandya slammed the pitch at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow after India’s six-wicket win over New Zealand in the series-levelling second ODI played at the stadium on Sunday. In a match, that saw New Zealand being restricted to 99 for 8 in the first innings, the Indian batsmen too struggled before Surya Kumar Yadav’s unbeaten knock of 26 runs and Pandya’s unbeaten knock of 15 runs took them home with 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. 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,” Pandya told reporters in post-match interaction.

While the Indian team had suffered a 21-run loss against New Zealand in the first T20I played at Ranchi, the Indian bowlers did not let the Kiwi batsman take control in the second T20I. Arshdeep Singh claimed two wickets while Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar and Deepak Hooda claimed a wicket each to restrict India to 99 for 8 in the 20 overs.

Pandya believed that even 120 would have been a winning total on the pitch at Ekana Stadium. “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,” said Pandya.

In the end, India managed to eke out a six-wicket win with one ball to spare. Yadav and Pandya were involved in an unbeaten 31-run partnership for the fifth wicket to guide the team home. “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,” said Pandya.





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