After India registered a comprehensive 3-0 win in their home T20I series against New Zealand, Mitchell Santner, the stand-in captain for the third T20I, highlighted the difficulty of facing India at home in these conditions. The team saw a massive turnaround in their performance as compared to the freshly concluded ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in which the Kane Williamson-led team fought their way towards entering their maiden T20 tournament final and ending up as the first-runners up.
The team played their first bilateral series post the T20 World Cup without a few of their key players, including regular skipper Kane Williamson. Williamson was rested in order to prepare him for the two-match Test series. While Tim Southee, who led the side in the first two T20I in the absence of Williamson, missed out on the final match of the T20I series.
“It’s been a challenge. It’s been a quick turnaround from the World Cup. But we pride ourselves on turning up and playing some good cricket against a very good Indian side and winning a series. It’s tough to do and they showed once again that it’s a tough challenge,” Mitchell Santner.
“It was a challenging series. It’s always challenging to come to India and play a really good side. We were good in patches. The challenge for us was to get wickets at the top and we couldn’t throughout the series. But credit the way Rohit and KL batted at the top. We had our chances, but the conditions changed in every game and dew played a major factor. And then again tonight, it was there, but it didn’t get any worse. We were outdone this series but we’re looking forward to the 12 months towards the next World Cup.”
India won the third and final T20I against New Zealand by 73 runs, completing a 3-0 clean sweep in the three-match series at the legendary Eden Gardens on Sunday, thanks to Rohit Sharma’s magnificent fifty and a precise bowling effort headed by Axar Patel (3/9). New Zealand got bundled up in just 111 runs in their quest to complete the chase.
Both teams will next lock horns in the two-match Test series that is scheduled to be played in Kanpur from November 25. New Zealand is ready to give a fightback to the team equipped with their full squad.
“It doesn’t matter what format you come up against India, they’re a tough challenge to beat. We saw that in 2016. Hopefully, the boys are ready for the first Test in Kanpur. It’s a quick turnaround again. We have some good spinners, we know spin will play a big part. It’s about just trying to grind out as much as possible,” he said.
“We’ve seen how good Ashwin, Jadeja and Axar Patel can be in these conditions. We’ve got guys like Ajaz and Somerville that are pretty eager to see some spinning wickets as spinners do coming from New Zealand.”