India’s off-spin all-rounder Washington Sundar believes seam-bowling all-rounder Daryl Mitchell’s unbeaten 59 off 30 balls, including hitting 27 runs in the final over of first T20I on Friday, made a difference between the two teams.
Before the start of New Zealand’s final over, they were at 149/6 and in danger of not getting a score above 160. But Mitchell had other ideas, hitting three sixes and a four off a wayward Arshdeep Singh, including off a no-ball, and ended up collecting 27 runs in the last over of New Zealand’s innings, setting them up for a 21-run victory at the JSCA International Stadium.
“Obviously, Daryl’s innings was very crucial for them and as I said 150 would’ve been par and we would’ve been very happy with that going inside, but yes he made the difference by actually getting a half-century for himself. He played till the end and made the difference in the last over.”
“I think these big overs will happen in T20 cricket and it just happened in a couple of occasions in this game and at times it could happen where you will see 15 runs and above in three-four overs. That’s how this format is,” he said in the post-match press conference.
With the bat, Washington waged a late lone battle for India, smashing a 25-ball half-century after coming in at number six, also his first fifty in T20Is. The highlight of his knock were some clean shots, starting from a hard reverse sweep going past short third man for a boundary.
“Yes, growing up I always used to bat up the order – open or bat at No. 3 – but obviously this shift happened ever since I started to play a lot of T20 games, especially in the IPL. Obviously, it demands practice.”
“Any skillset, I feel, if you practice really hard, and if you work in the right way and in a specific way, you will eventually get it and it happened that way to me as well. You know, I just spent a lot of hours doing what that particular skillset demands, and eventually I’m lucky I got it,” he added.
With both captains Hardik Pandya and Mitchell Santner expressing surprise over the nature of the pitch, especially with the pitch offering grip and turn to spinners throughout the match, especially with the dew not being as impactful as it was expected, Washington suggested Friday’s match was just an aberration from the Indian perspective.
“I think it was just a one-off game. I don’t think that just because it was spinning so much, we have to address anything. Just that one-off game. Had we got off to a flier or even a better start, things would’ve been much different. Obviously, it did spin, and you will see such wickets here and there.”
“Obviously, people over here and players in our team have played on such wickets in the IPL and even in the Indian team. So, just that one-off game where certain things didn’t go our way and eventually, we couldn’t cross the line. They bowled well and they played with three spinners and even their seamers bowled very well.”