New Zealand's decision of playing three spinner against India in the ICC World T20 2016 opener paid dividends as the Black Caps defeated India by 47 runs at the VCA stadium in Nagpur Tuesday. Slow left-arm Mitchell Santner was awarded the man of the match for his incredible bowling performance. He picked up four wickets, giving away only 11 runs in his four overs.
The New Zealand spinner said that it was the selectors' decision to play three spinners. Black Caps, known for their pace battery, benched pacers Tim Southee and Trent Boult and played three spinners – Santner, Ish Sodhi and Nathan McCullum. Though the pitch might have looked dry, it was a bold move by the New Zealand thinktank.
However, all the spinners delivered for New Zealand as Sodhi and McCullum also picked three and two wickets respectively.
"It was selectors decision to bowl three spinners. When spinners take nine wickets on a spin track then it's not a bad one." Santner was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.
"Looking at the pitch we knew it will spin. There was lot of purchase out there. I think we are lucky that three of our spinners were able to do the job. We also thought of going for an aggressive start (while batting). But it started spinning a lot later on. If we could have got a good start it would have been good, but we got 120 (126)."
This performance of the New Zealand spinners looked even more impressive as it came against the famed batting line-up of India, which is said to be best in the competition. Though one should not take anything away from the New Zealand spinners, some India batsmen gave their wicket away, going hard at the ball. They should have played with soft hands.
India bowlers might have been impressive, dismissing New Zealand for 126 runs, but the home team only made 79 runs, which is their second lowest total in T20Is. Dhoni was the top-scorer for India with 30 runs to his name.
New Zealand will gain immense confidence after their massive win against favourites India.
"Every time you beat India, it's a confidence booster. We will take a lot of positive out of this match. We knew it will be a hard fought game, we had to fight to defend our total Indian bowlers bowled well. We came out and stuck to our plans," Santner said.