In response, New Zealand spinners ruled the roost as the Kiwis restricted India to 155/9. Skipper Mitchell Santner stood out with 2/11 from his four overs, while off-spinner Michael Bracewell chipped in with 2/31. In the end, the visitors cruised to victory despite Washington Sundar’s valiant 25-ball fifty.
Speaking after the game, Bracewell admitted that he was surprised by the amount of turn the wicket offered. He told the host broadcaster after New Zealand’s win, "We were surprised by the behavior of the pitch. It was turning and it helped us while defending. On the delivery of Kishan's wicket, I was trying to get some turn off the pitch and was lucky that it beat the outside edge.”
Bracewell also praised skipper Santner, who is leading the team in Kane Williamson’s absence. The 31-year-old said, "Mitchell used the experience and we discussed what to bowl on this surface. There was a little bit of dew in the end but we were ready with the towels.”
Bracewell further stated that the win was a big boost for New Zealand after they were crushed 3-0 in the ODIs. The off-spinner said, "It's massive to bounce back after the disappointing ODI series. We are looking forward to going into the next game with the momentum behind us.”
At the post-match presentation ceremony, Santner echoed Bracewell’s views regarding the amount of spin on the surface. He admitted, “It was a bit of a shock for everyone involved, how much it kind of spun in the second innings. But it was a great game and it was pretty tight at the end, we saw a lot of runs in the ODI series and it was nice to see the ball spin a bit more.
“I don't think we were ever safe, 170-odd was nice with Daryl hitting a couple over and he batted extremely well, we knew we had a sniff with 180,” he added.
The second T20I of the three-match series will be played at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on Sunday, January 29.
--By A Cricket Correspondent