New Zealand’s stand-in captain Mitchell Santner credited India for their dominating 3-0 series win, admitting that it is a challenge to beat them at home. In the absence of regular captain Kane Williamson and Tim Southee, Santner led New Zealand in the final T20I in Kolkata, which the visitors lost by 73 runs.
Dew had played a massive factor in New Zealand’s defeats in the first two games in Jaipur and Ranchi. Things weren’t expected to be very different in the third match in Kolkata. However, the dew factor didn’t play as significant a role, and New Zealand had no significant advantage despite batting second.
Santner said in this regard in the post-match presentation ceremony:
“It’s a tough one to predict what the dew is going to be like. India bowled very well at the top, especially Axar Patel. Three wickets in the powerplay isn’t easy to return from. Credit to India for the way they played throughout the series.
“I think we were probably a little bit off (throughout the series). We came up against a very good Indian side. They’re tough to beat at home, and it showed. There were phases in the series when we were going well, and they put pressure on us. The way KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma put pressure on our bowlers at the top made it difficult for us to come back.”
Electing to bat first, India piled up 184 for seven, courtesy of a fine half-century from Rohit Sharma and a good show from the lower middle-order. In response, New Zealand were bundled out for 111, with Axar Patel claiming three wickets in the powerplay, ending with figures of 3-0-9-3.
Mitchell Santner reflects on Kane Williamson’s absence
Mitchell Santner admitted that New Zealand missed Kane Williamson. But with the Tests and a busy schedule ahead, he emphasised the importance of trying new players keeping the 2022 T20 World Cup in mind.
“(Kane Williamson) is a great player for us, and with the Test matches coming up,” said Santner. “With the schedule being quite tight, it’s understandable that other guys would get a chance, and it was an opportunity to see different guys in different roles ahead of the T20 World Cup that’s in 11 months. But India is a very tough side, and they showed that again,” he added.
Despite dew being a big challenge for the spinners, Santner became the joint-most wicket-taker in the series. The left-arm spinner claimed four wickets in the series at an average of 19.75, going at six an over.
ALSO READArticle Continues below
The two-match Test series between India and New Zealand starts on November 25, Thursday, in Kanpur.