Hardik Pandya in action during the 1st India-New Zealand T20I.© AFP
After New Zealand won the first T20I by 21 runs on Friday, India captain Hardik Pandya said that the pitch at the JSCA International Stadium in Ranchi “caught us by surprise”. The Kiwis took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series as India’s batting crumbled under the light in Ranchi. Chasing a target of 177, India were restricted to 155 for nine in 20 overs, despite Washington Sundar’s maiden fifty in the format. However, Hardik said that his team conceded some extra runs, which made life difficult for the batters.
“No one even thought that the wicket would play like that and both teams were surprised. But they played better cricket on this and that’s why the result end up like that. Actually the new ball was turning more than the old one and the way it spun, way it bounced, it caught us by surprise. But somehow, we pulled it back and were in the game till Surya and myself were batting. On hindsight, I don’t think this wicket was 177, we were poor with the ball and we ended up giving 25 runs more than the par…,” Hardik said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Hardik hailed Sundar, who scored 50 off 28, for keeping India in the hunt, adding that his young side will only get better.
“It is a young group and we will only learn from this. The way he bowled, batted and fielded; it was Washington against New Zealand today. We needed someone who can bat and bowl, gives us a lot of confidence and it will help us going forward,” he added.
With the win, New Zealand took a 1-0 in the series, and will face India in the second T20I in Lucknow on Sunday.
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