The pitch curator of Lucknow’s Ekana Cricket Stadium was sacked for creating a slow, turning wicket for the second T20 International between India and New Zealand. India won the second T20I with just one ball to spare while chasing a mere target of 100. Everyone including skipper Hardik Pandya critiscised the pitch prepared for the match saying that it was not meant for a T20 game.

Following his side’s hard-fought six-wicket win over New Zealand in the second T20I, Pandya said that the game went down to the wire and the surface was a “shocker of a wicket”, which is not suitable for the shorter format.

“I always believed that we will be able to finish the game, but it went quite late. All these games are important with the moments. You do not need to panic because it was about rotating the strike rather than taking the pressure. That`s exactly what we did. We followed our basics,” said Pandya in a post-match presentation.

“To be honest, it was a shocker of a wicket. Both the games we have played so far. I do not mind difficult wickets. I am all up for that, but these two wickets are not made for T20. Somewhere down the line the curators or the grounds that we are going to play in should make sure they prepare the pitches earlier.”

The skipper admitted that even 120 would have been a winning total for any side on this surface.

“Bowlers – they stuck to their plans and ensured they did not rotate the strike. We kept rotating the spinners. Dew did not play much part in this. They were able to spin the ball more than us. It was carrying through well,” concluded Pandya.

Coming to the match, star batter of India Suryakumar Yadav and captain Hardik Pandya held their nerves to guide India to a hard-fought 6-wicket victory over New Zealand in the second T20I encounter here at Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on Sunday.

New Zealand could put up only 99/8 in their 20 overs. Indian spinners dominated the Kiwi batters right from the start and scoring runs was extremely hard for the visitors.

Skipper Mitchell Santner (19) top-scored for Kiwis, nobody could touch the 20-run mark. Mark Chapman and Michael Bracewell also managed 14 runs each.Pacer Arshdeep Singh (2/7) was the pick of the bowlers for India. Spinners Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Deepak Hooda and Kuldeep Yadav took a wicket each. Pandya also took a wicket each.

During India’s chase of 100, the pattern of bowler’s dominance continued and Men in Blue were down 70/4 in 14.3 overs. Openers Ishan Kishan (19) and Shubman Gill (11) continued their disappointing run with the bat.

Then it was Suryakumar Yadav (26* off 31 balls) and Pandya (15* off 20 balls) who formed a match-winning stand of 31 runs to take India across the line.Suryakumar was chosen as the `Man of the Match` for his calm and composed knock. India has the series level at 1-1. The decider will be played on Wednesday in Ahmedabad. (With ANI inputs)

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