Lucknow T20 pitch faces criticism as India and NZ fail to hit a single six

Captain Hardik Pandya calls Ekana wicket a 'shocker' as hosts level series on Sunday

New Zealand's Finn Allen after he was bowled by India's Yuzvendra Chahal during the second T20 in Lucknow on Sunday, January 29, 2023. AP
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The surface used for the second T20 between India and New Zealand came in for heavy criticism as spinners dominated the day-night game and batsmen failed to hit a single six in 39.5 overs.

The Ekana Stadium pitch provided prodigious turn and bounce for the spinners, forcing both captains to rely almost exclusively on the slow bowlers.

New Zealand could only manage 99-8 batting first, as India suffocated them by using four spinners. However, the Kiwis managed to stretch the contest to the penultimate delivery of the match before India eked out a six-wicket win to level the T20 series at 1-1.

Spinners from both sides bowled 30 of the total 40 overs and not a single six was hit by a batsman, a first for a T20 in India.

Suryakumar Yadav's uncharacteristically restrained 26 not out off 31 balls was the highest individual score by a batter.

"To be honest, it was a shocker of a wicket," India captain Hardik Pandya said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

"I don't 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 in time."

The wicket in the first T20 between the teams at Ranchi also favoured spin bowlers. There, New Zealand won by 21 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

On Sunday, the Kiwis just used 2.5 of overs from their fast bowlers. Spinners Michael Bracewell and Ish Sodhi took a wicket each.

"We bowled 17 overs of spin, definitely something different," said New Zealand captain Mitchell Santner. "With the bounce out there, it looked challenging."

In fact, Santner said he considered making fast bowler Lockie Ferguson bowl off-spin.

"I was trying to find them [spinners] from everywhere," Santner said.

"I was asking Lockie if he could bowl some off-spin. I think you don't often see more than 12 overs of spin out there."

Updated: January 30, 2023, 10:36 AM