It was good to see the lower order score runs: MS Dhoni
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New Zealand won the fourth match of the series to tie the series level at 2-2, as Indian tail-enders staged another fight back after a batting collapse saw India flailing at 154-6, after which Dhawal Kulkarni, Axar Patel and Amit Mishra tried to steady the ship, but with Mishra’s wicket, Kulkarni was left alone with Umesh Yadav at the other end, they still fought till the end, stitching a 10th wicket partnership of 34 runs, which brought India close to the target, before Yadav was dismissed by Trent Boult, who finished the match with figures of 2-48. This was India’s first loss at Ranchi stadium.
Mitchell Santner, whose family flew in to be with him, said that it was nice to keep the series alive till the last match. Santner finished with figures of 1-38 in his 10 overs and he said that the pitch offered turn if the ball was placed in the right areas. After the match, he was quoted saying, “It is good to have my family here. Nice to take a win with the series alive to Vizag. We watched Mishra and Axar bowl in the first innings and we saw that the ball was turning if we got it to pitch in the right areas and mix up the pace up well. It is always tough bowling to Virat and Dhoni and I was trying to bowl into the deck and let the pitch rip it up. I just tried to bowl that hard length and not try and do too much. Tried to build pressure and keep it simple. We had an above par score here but we knew that we had to fight hard. Eked out a couple of important wickets and carried it on from there.”
Losing captain and local boy, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who failed to deliver coming to bat at No. 4, said that the team conceded too many easy runs early on and also too many extras (a total of 16 extras). He also said that the total was not a big one, but with wickets falling, it was never going to be easy. He was of the opinion that the pitch was getting slower, and it was important to play with patience, “I think we gave too many extras and too many runs early on. We could have done it still, with wickets in hand. It was good to see the lower order score runs, but wickets in hand would have been a good factor. I felt the wicket was best to bat in the afternoon and it kept getting slower. Older ball was not coming on. But with partnerships, this total could have been chased. A few of them played big shots but they will play 10-15 games and learn the trade. Cricket has evolved; newer generation like to play the big shots. You cannot tell them not to because then they will get into a shell. They will learn that if you go over the in-field, you have chances of getting out. We will lose a few but they will learn. With dew, you tend to bowl first because our spinners are not effective and we struggle to defend totals. But so far, dew hasn’t been a factor this series. We should have won in Delhi but it’s not about that. We have to be at our best in the decider, against New Zealand who are an experienced side.”
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was happy with his team’s efforts, saying that 260 was a good total on that surface. He also said that going in with an extra spinner was a risk that paid off, with dew factor not coming into play so far in this series. Looking forward to the decider at Vizag, Kane went to say, “Improved effort, exactly what we wanted. Had partnerships throughout on a tough surface. 260 was not a bad total and we had the extra spinner. I think coming here with a game down, it was one of those confusing things. Dew may have come in or may not have. We just had to execute our skills well and it worked. I think so far in this ODI series we have played on a variety of surfaces. Has been long tour this. The guys have done well, executed their skills. When we get to Vizag, we need to have a look at the surface. A decider against India – a good side – is an exciting prospect.”