South Africa veteran pacer Dale Steyn on Wednesday said that New Zealand’s decision to play three spinners against India in the World Twenty20 opener on Tuesday paid off well as the Black Caps scripted a stunning 47-run victory over the hosts in Nagpur.
The Kiwis, who have never lost to India in the shortest version of the game, thus maintained their perfect record. Chasing a modest 127-run target on a spin-friendly track in the Super 10 Group 2 match, the Indian batsmen never really got into the groove and could only manage to crawl their way to 79 before being all out at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium.
Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner claimed a four-wicket haul for New Zealand with superb figures of 4/11. He was well supported by leg-spinner Inderbir Singh Sodhi (3/18) and Nathan McCullum (2/15)
“I guess New Zealand thinking was correct. That paid off, playing with three spinners, but we know what are strengths are, we probably go with spin, may go with spin, I don’t know, but as a seamer I have to back myself bowl fast cutters,” Steyn told reporters after the team’s practice session here.
“It’s really difficult to hit out, when the ball is coming at 140-145 kmph, its gripping and stopping, you don’t have to worry about bowling a perfect yorker. You can run in and bowl back off a length ball. One might bounce and skid, one might stay lower, it is difficult to bowl on that wicket.”
Despite being favourites in past International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments, the Proteas have failed to win a single major competition.
When asked if the chokers tag still comes as added pressure on them, the speedster said, “That doesn’t give us any pressure, we haven’t won one. We have obviously been a powerhouse team for a long time and it is disappointing to fans all over the world that we have not won one, every year, every tournament we go to… we got well prepared as possibly we can, we have some of the best players in the world, if not the best players.”
Commenting on how challenging it is for a bowler to keep performing consistently in all three formats of the game, the 32-year-old said: “It all depends on what you are thinking about, it is physically, mentally, emotionally, you know like… it all depends upon whether it is physical, emotional, whatever you are going with mental.
“The T20 can be mentally hard, being a bowler, you have only four overs. If you got an edge it can go for a four, that’s not your fault. Whereas in a Test match, you have five days to make up for it..Slightly easy, but can be more taking,” he said.
In the 2015 50-over World Cup semi-finals, New Zealand’s Grant Elliott struck Steyn for a six to help Kiwis enter the final of the competition. When asked what went through his mind after the heart-breaking moment, Steyn said, “No, it’s a pity that everyone can’t think about that ball. I think more about what happened after that ball, he came and pick me up.
“That was a better movement, prior to that match winning runs, that six whatever it was, he hit me one out of the ground, and we had many opportunities to win that game.
“Unfortunately, that was the movement they won the game, doesn’t always well done to that last ball or last run. There were a lot of interests leading up to the game, that was just the final one,” the pacer further added.