New Zealand head coach Gary Stead on Monday said the Black Caps were well prepared to "fire some shots" at a star studded Indian team, adding that his side showed "courage and bravery" in the crucial clash. A clinical New Zealand defeated India by eight wickets on Sunday to strengthen their chances of advancing to the semifinals.
After winning the toss, the Kiwi bowlers stifled the Indian batters to restrict them to 110 for 7 in 20 overs and Stead was delighted by the "special" performance. "I thought the bowling effort was absolutely outstanding possibly up there I think with the best performance I've seen in my time with the T20 bowling team," Stead was quoted as saying by Stuff.co.nz.
"To restrict a star-studded team like India to 110 was really, really special and then I thought the batting was very clinical," he added.
Stead revealed the plan was to keep taking wickets and not let the top Indian batters stay on till the death overs. "The way we stuck to the plans that we had we were prepared to be smart around the way we played, but also to fire some shots back at these guys.
"Because we wanted to make sure that we did take wickets still - that they weren't going in to a death stage with their top quality players in still."
Legspinner Ish Sodhi (2/17) was adjudged the Player of the Match as he took the prized wickets of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, while star seamer Trent Boult took 3-20 off his four overs.
"When you play a big team as star-studded as India are, then you actually have got to make sure you fire some shots at them as well. If you can put them under pressure, then hopefully it puts you on the upper-hand of the game for periods of time. The way our bowlers bowled in that first innings was absolutely superb."
Such was the spinners Mitchell Santner and Sodhi's stronghold that India went 71 balls between the 6th and the 17th overs without hitting a single boundary. "They didn't let India off at all I think there were 71 balls bowled without a boundary hit from the sixth over, pretty amazing on a ground with a good surface."
Stead said the fact that Boult almost dismissed Rohit of the first ball displayed "the courage and the bravery" New Zealand had intended to play with.
"I think the example of Rohit being bounced first ball, showed to me that it was the courage, the bravery that we wanted to do. And we all know Rohit Sharma can hit the ball out of the park and he's an amazing hooker of the ball.
"Our pre-match talks were about making sure we were in charge out there, and we were prepared to throw something at India that they may not expect."
Boult had bowled a brilliant delivery which Rohit had looked to play a hook shot but the Indian couldn't control the shot and the ball went straight to Adam Milne, who spilt the catch at deep fine leg. "When Boulty starts bowling, people are generally looking at him to come and hit the stumps and hit front pad. So we thought what can we do different here that perhaps puts them on the back foot?"
"And while the catch wasn't taken, the intent around what we were trying to do set the tone I think for the whole innings. The spinners were both outstanding as well."