IND vs NZ 2017: We Will Treat The Series-Decider Like Any Other Game, Says Mitchell Santner
Even though New Zealand had scored a mammoth 196 for 2 in the do-or-die clash at Rajkot, they still had a long way to go. On a pitch where the batsmen were timing the ball with utmost ease, the New Zealand bowlers had their task cut against the high-flying Indian team which had scored 202 in the first match and had chased down a 200-plus total against Australia at the very same ground a few years ago.
New Zealand, however, made their intentions clear as they superbly began their defense, sending back both the in-form Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma for single-digit scores in the second over. The onus was then taken by the spinners as New Zealand went on to win the game by 40 runs to keep the series alive.
Ish Sodhi was the standout bowlers for the visitors during the middle-overs as he conceded only 25 ran off his four overs and picked the important wicket of Hardik Pandya for just 1. And the leg-spinner was praised by his fellow spinner Mitchell Santner who too had a good outing in the last game.
“Lengths have been the key thing. Ish bowled a superb length, pulled it back and made it hard for the Indian batsmen to hit. I tried to do something pretty similar. Axar (Patel) and Yuzvendra Chahal bowled really well in Delhi. I thought they were unlucky in the last game. We have to change our lengths accordingly. We have to wait and see,” said Santner ahead of the series decider on Tuesday.
One of the features of the last match was how brilliantly Santner managed to keep MS Dhoni under check. When asked, he said:
“He is a very good player of spin and seam bowling. I guess at the start I try to keep it simple. I try to pull the length up and tuck him up a little bit. Also, I try to read the batsman as much as possible.”
Santner further said that the Kiwis would treat the series-decider just like any other game. But it won’t be foolish to say that New Zealand’s poor record in crunch games will be at the back of the players’ mind. Last year, the Kiwis had faltered in the final ODI match against India, and the story remained pretty much similar in this year’s ODI series too. Even during this year’s Champions Trophy, they exited the tournament after losing the do-or-die clash against Bangladesh.
“We would like to treat this like any other game. It is better than being two-nil down. We are excited about it,” the spinner said.
When asked whether the Men in Blue are under pressure and if it presented the Kiwis the best chance of winning a series here, Santner said:
“India have played very good cricket for a long time now in your conditions. They are tough to beat. We have taken it to the decider in the last two series. Both teams will want to win (tomorrow).
“They played well in Kanpur under pressure as well (to win the ODI series). We will turn up tomorrow and put up a good performance and try to take the series,” he added.
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