Former Indian opening batter Gautam Gambhir criticized the pitch in Lucknow for the second T20I against New Zealand, labeling it 'sub-standard'. The 41-year-old reflected that it's rare for spinners to get such assistance off any surface in T20 cricket.
Both batting units struggled on a devious track in the second T20I, with the tourists managing only 99 in their 20 overs. India's four spinners took four wickets each and bowled quite economically, with Yuzvendra Chahal bagging figures of 2-1-4-1. India took 19.5 overs to chase the modest target as the Kiwi spinners were equally economical.
While Gambhir criticized Hardik Pandya and co. for taking the match as deep as they did, the 58-Test veteran lamented the track as it assisted too much spin. Speaking on Star Sports, he said:
"Let’s be very honest, it was a sub-standard wicket and not a T20 wicket. You don’t expect this kind of purchase from the spinners and it was tough. When you are chasing 100, your ability to play spin, your ability to rotate the strike comes into the picture."
"I was surprised by the way Indian batters played against spin. They could have played much better and shouldn’t have taken that deep."
The 41-year-old also heaped praise on the Black Caps, lauding Mitchell Santner's captaincy for taking the game so deep despite a small total.
"Not an ideal T20 pitch" - Former Indian pacer
Former left-arm seamer Irfan Pathan echoed Gambhir's opinion about the pitch; however, he lauded the Men in Blue's efforts for crossing the line. Suryakumar Yadav earned the Player of the Match award for his 26 off 31 deliveries and was the only batter from either side to cross 20 runs.
The number one T20I batter forged an unbroken stand of 31 off 32 balls with skipper Hardik Pandya to carry their team to the target.
With the home side's six-wicket win, the series stands leveled at 1-1, with one more T20I to play. The third and final T20I will take place on Wednesday (February 1) in Ahmedabad.
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