After New Zealand’s six-wicket loss to India on Monday night, New Zealand all-rounder Michael Bracewell plenty of chances to complain about the pitch, but he didn’t choose to do so.
Bracewell made it clear that he wouldn’t want to play on a surface that would be so difficult for someone who regularly used to swing hard and score big totals, but he said that there are still lessons to be learned from these games.
After New Zealand scored 99-8 against India, their lowest total against India, and the eleventh time they failed to reach triple figures in T20 history, he was questioned about the surface on many occasions.
Only six times New Zealand batters were able to find the boundary line. India only managed to score eight while still managing to win by one ball. At a venue that won’t host any matches during the ODI World Cup this year, the 50,000 spectators didn’t have a single opportunity to get their hands on a maximum.
The uneven pitch was so spin-friendly that spinners bowled 17 of the 19.5 overs for the Black Caps and 13 of the 20 for the Indian spinners.
The turning surface on which the late Australian great Shane Warne would have been unbeatable allowed Bracewell, who had already scored 14 with the bat, to remove the dangerous Shubman Gill and end with the outstanding figures of 1-13 from his four overs.
Suryakumar Yadav, who struck an undefeated 26 and is the best batter in T20 cricket, came extremely close to being out as well. With Thursday’s game left to play, this series may have been New Zealand’s if a diving Jacob Duffy had been able to catch the opportunity Yadav top-edged when he had 11 runs to his name.
In addition to himself (0-20 from 4), Bracewell, and Ish Sodhi, skipper Santner also used part-timers Glenn Phillips (0-17 from 4) and Mark Chapman (0-4 from 1) due to the effectiveness of spin (1-24 from 4).
But before the third game in Ahmedabad on Thursday, when India needed 13 runs from the final 12 balls to tie the series at 1-1, he requested Ferguson and Blair Tickner to complete the task rather than handing left-armer Chapman a second over.
The equation changed to six from six as India skipper Hardik Pandya flicked a misdirected Ferguson delivery to the boundary. Yadav then hit a short Tickner delivery over mid-off to bring the hosts home.
Santner stated that he believed the New Zealand were 15-20 runs short after choosing to bat first despite neither local press nor broadcasters asking him about his choice to go for speed in the last two overs.