Hardik, Santner express 'shock' and 'surprise' at Ranchi pitch

Hardik, Santner express 'shock' and 'surprise' at Ranchi pitch

India captain Hardik Pandya was shocked by the way Ranchi’s pitching handled in the T20I series opener against New Zealand on Friday. The pitch offered a strong grip and spin to the slower bowlers throughout the game, and the spray factor did not make much of an impact in the second innings. Chasing 177, India could only manage 155 from 9 as New Zealand won their first game of the tour.

“I don’t think anyone thought this wicket would play like this,” Hardik told Star Sports in the post-match presentation. “Both teams were a bit surprised but I think they played better cricket this [pitch]and that’s the reason why the result ended up like this.

“Actually, the ball was spinning more with the new ball than with the old one. And the way it was spinning and the way it was getting [that] rebound, I think it caught us by surprise, but I still think we took it back. We were still in the game until Surya [Suryakumar Yadav] and I were batting and obviously the way that Washy [Washington Sundar] finish. Like I said, it was a surprise wicket, but they played a bit better than us.”

New Zealand captain Mitchell Santner echoed Hardik’s thoughts on court, with the well-mowed grass at CEJA Stadium perhaps offering his spinners more assists in the second innings.

“I think it was a shock to everyone involved — how much he turned in the second inning,” Santner said. “But yeah, it was a great game, and it was pretty close at the end. You’ve seen a lot of runs in the ODI series, so it’s good to see the ball turn a bit more.” [in the T20Is].”

Washington wasn’t overly critical of the pitch, suggesting that the way it played was just an aberration. “I think it was just a one-off game,” he said at the post-match press conference. “I don’t think just because he was spinning so much, we have to address anything. Just that unique game. If we’d had a midfielder or even a better start, things would have been a lot different. Obviously, he spun, and you’ll see those wickets here and there. Obviously the people here and the players on our team have played on those grounds in the IPL and even the Indian team.So just that one game where certain things didn’t go our way and eventually we couldn’t cross the line. They played well and played with three wheels and even their closers played very well.”

Washington calculated that Daryl Mitchell’s unbeaten 59 on 30 balls, including a sequence of 7(nb), 6, 6, 4 in the last one turned the game around. Left-arm closer Arshdeep Singh kept missing his yorkers and ended up losing 27 in the late New Zealand innings.

“Obviously Daryl’s innings were crucial for them and as I said 150 would have been even and we would have been very happy with that, but yeah he made the difference getting a half century for him.” Washington said. “He played to the end and made the difference in the last over. I think these big overs will happen in T20 cricket and it’s only happened on a couple of occasions in this game and on occasion it could happen where you’ll see 15 runs and up in three-four overs. That’s what this format is like.”

Santner also recognized that Mitchell’s contribution, and his early advances with the ball, were crucial on that field. Santner himself was so unbeatable in the early exchanges that Suryakumar played a maiden in the latter part of the power play. The left-arm fingerpinner took the cheapest numbers of the day: 4-1-11-2.

I guess we were never safe [with that total]Santner said. [Devon Conway]. We thought we were in with a nose at 180 [176 for 6]. We knew we had to bowl well with the power that India has; so it was good to take some wickets away on the power play, so we battled in the one day series.”