It was one a kind of a T20I match but not in a good way. Everything about the clash was a head-scratcher, and the pitch: the biggest of them all. It is perhaps a record-breaker kind of a clash, one that saw no sixes being scored by either of the two teams. More importantly, the highest run-scorer for both teams after nearly 40 overs of completion was Suryakumar Yadav, who scored a 31-ball 26.
Even for Suryakumar’s standards, the pitch was rather a tough nut to crack, and needed the extreme efforts of the batters to put on a show. Indian skipper Hardik Pandya, who himself faced a tough time in the middle was highly critical of the wicket, calling it a “shocker” of a wicket. Alongside that, he also insisted that dew played not a big role during the run-chase.
“This is a shocker of a pitch. We need to make sure we have better pitches. Even 120 would have been a winning total here,” Hardik said in the post-match presentation.
“We kept to our plans, we made sure they will not rotate the strike, and the wickets kept falling. Dew didn't play much of a role because if you see they were able to spin the ball more than us. It was a shocker of a wicket. The ball was flying for even the fast bowlers,” he added.
But there wasn’t much of a chaos in the dressing room. For almost till the 19th over of the run-chase, there was this extreme calm figure of Rahul Dravid in the dressing room. And in the 20th, there was Hardik and Suryakumar, who combined to finish the game for the Men in Blue. It was critical that the two batted till the end.
"I always believed we will finish the game," says Hardik Pandya. "It went quite deep, but that is how it is. These kind of games, it is important to not panic. Rather than taking risks, we rotated the strike. having said that,” concluded the Indian skipper.
On the other hand, there was this version of Suryakumar that perhaps was unheard of in international cricket. The right-hander took his time, and throughout the innings struggled to hit the big shots. In the end, the right-hand conceded that it was crucial to adapt to the wicket and the situation.
"A different version of SKY today. Of course it was a challenging wicket, but you have to be able to adapt. We just needed one hit in the end, and it was very important to calm ourselves down. Before I got the winning runs, Hardik came up to me and told me you will hit the winning runs this ball. That gave me a lot of confidence,” the right-hander revealed in the post-match presentation.
In the middle, there was this massive confusion between the two batters – Suryakumar and Washington Sundar – which led to the latter’s dismissal. The 32-year-old Mumbaikar admitted that it was his mistake, and stated that he wasn’t too sure of where the ball went.
"Adapting to the situation was very important. After losing Washy, I had to make sure I batted till the end. It was my mistake, I didn't see where the ball went," he added.