India beat New Zealand by six wickets in a low-scoring game at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow. Batting first after winning the toss, the Kiwis managed only 99/8 in their 20 overs as Indian spinners stifled the opponents. In the chase, India also lost four wickets and needed 19.5 overs to reach the target of 100.
Hitting out after India crawled to a series-leveling victory, Pandya said at the post-match presentation, “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.”
Giving an advice to the curators, he added, “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.”
Admitting that the game went too deep, Pandya asserted that he always had the belief they would get home as they were doing the basics right by rotating the strike. The all-rounder commented, “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.”
While there was plenty of spin on offer, Pandya credited his bowlers for sticking to their plans and not deviating from the basics. He said, “They stuck to their plans 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 carrying through well.”
For India, Kuldeep Yadav and Deepak Hooda both finished with figures of 1/17 each from their four overs. Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal also claimed one wicket each, while Arshdeep Singh helped himself to a couple at the end. Suryakumar Yadav (26* off 31) top-scored for India in the tense chase.
--By A Cricket Correspondent