Gautam Gambhir and Hardik Pandya slam Lucknow Ekana pitch after India vs NZ game sees no six

DailyBiteJanuary 30, 2023 | 16:16 IST

When was the last time you saw a T20 game finish without a six being hit? Can't think of one? It happened yesterday (January 30) during the India vs New Zealand second T20I match being played at Lucknow's Bharat Ratna Shree Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Stadium. The stadium, which has featured 9 international games so far, has been criticised by veteran and current cricketers for the sloppy which doesn't suit a T20 game.

After the match, captain Hardik Pandya called the pitch a "shocker". Speaking to Star Sports after the match, Hardik said: “The kind of wickets we played the two games on… I don’t mind difficult wickets. I’m all up for that, but these wickets are not made for T20s. Somewhere down the line, the curator or stadium, wherever we play T20s, they should make sure they prepare the game (pitch) previously rather than having a couple of games there.”

Indian captain Hardik Pandya celebrates with team members during the second T20 against New Zealand in Lucnow's Ekana Stadium. Photo: BCCI/Twitter

What happened? The wicket gave a nightmare to the batters as it showed immense turn. In all, of the 239 balls bowled in both the innings, no six was hit.

  • Batting first, New Zealand could put up a score of just 99/8 with nearly all their batters failing to understand India's spinners. Chasing the score, India too struggled to get across the finishing line and with just one ball to spare, skipper Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav finished the game.
  • None of the New Zealand batters could pass the score of even 20 in their innings. It was a complete show of spinners, as Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Washington Sundar in their spell of 9 overs conceded just 38 runs.

  •  New Zealand also used the wicket to its advantage and got spinners to bowl maximum overs. In all, out of 40 overs being bowled, 30 were bowled by spinners.

New Zealand captain Mitchell Santner searches for spinners: The Kiwi skipper, Mitchell Santner was also surprised with the amount of help the spinners were getting from the wicket. That also propelled Santner to squeeze out four overs from wicketkeeper-turned-part-time offspinner Glenn Philips. Philips stood to the test, and conceded just 17 runs in his spell.

  • Mark Chapman, who is a part- time finger spinner, also bowled one over and New Zealand took the game to the last over. Santner, after the match, revealed that he even asked pacer Lockie Fergusson if he could bowl some offspin. "I was trying to find them (spinners) from everywhere. I was asking Lockie if he could bowl some offspin but yeah I think you don't often see more than 12 overs of spin out there. I think, maybe we bowled 16 or 17, so, its definitely something different," Santner said.

Gautam Gambhir calls the wicket 'sub-standard': Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir, speaking at Star Sports, called the wicket "sub-standard". "Let's be very honest, it was a sub-standard wicket and not a T20 wicket."

  • During the game, while doing commentary with former cricketer Mohammad Kaif, Gambhir had even went on to say that if Quinton de Kock sees this pitch, it is possible that he might not come to play here during the IPL.
  • Gambhir is the mentor of IPL team Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) and De Kock is the star batter of the team. Another reason why Gambhir was so concerned with the wicket is because the Ekana stadium will also be the home ground of LSG in IPL.

The third and the final match: The series is leveled at 1-1 with India winning the second match against Kiwis. Now the final will be played on February 1, 2023 at Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium.

Last updated: January 30, 2023 | 16:16
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