India all-rounder Washington Sundar termed their loss to New Zealand in the opening T20I here as a “one-off” defeat and backed the host to bounce back in the three-match series.
Chasing a competitive 177, India’s top-three, including in-form Shubman Gill (7) was dismissed for just 15 runs inside 19 balls, making the task difficult for the remaining batters with the home team settling for 155 for 9, handing New Zealand a 21-run win, its first victory of the tour on Friday night.
New Zealand was swept 0-3 in the preceding ODI series by India before the new-look home side under Hardik Pandya took over for the T20 leg.
“I think it was just a one-off game,” said Washington, who scored a quickfire 28-ball 50, besides returning with tidy figures of 2/22. “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 a better start, things would’ve been much different. Obviously, it did spin, and you will see such wickets here and there.
“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,” he added.
Will you stop going to a restaurant, if you don’t get your favourite biryani?
But his responses seemed “unconvincing” for a journalist, who went on to probe further and asked whether they should “change” their top order.
This time, the youngster was at his wittiest best.
“Do you really think a change is needed? If you don’t get your favourite biryani in one of the restaurants, you will never go to that restaurant?” “All of them have made so many runs. It’s just one day. It happens to anyone -- even New Zealand collapsed in Raipur (108 all out in 34.3 overs in the second ODI),” Washington said.
“It did not mean they had to change their top order. It’s a game where anything can happen. We will have to be patient. At the end of the day, it’s a sport where both teams cannot win and all 22 players cannot perform. All of them have done well to get to this stage.” The 23-year-old backed left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh, who registered poor figures of 4-0-51-1 and young pace sensation Umran Malik, who conceded 16 runs in the only over he bowled during New Zealand’s innings.
“He (Arshdeep) has taken so many wickets -- for India and in the IPL. We are also human beings, we also want to play the sport. When the competition is very high, and the opposition is of the highest quality such things can happen,” Washington said in support of his teammate.
“The way he (Malik) bowled against Sri Lanka and New Zealand (in ODIs) that’s why we all know he’s here. He’s an X-factor, someone who bowls above 150 consistently and that’s a rare quality.” Washington went on to hail the team management under head coach Rahul Dravid.
“Also with this management, they are very calm and patient, keen as long as we are learning from all the mistakes, that’s an amazing quality. Going forward, we will be a very very strong side,” he said.
He also praised Kiwi all-rounder Daryl Mitchell for his unbeaten 59 off 30 balls, which eventually made the difference.
“Obviously, Daryl’s innings was very crucial for them. Around 150 would be par, we would have been very happy with that. But he made the difference by actually getting a half-century for himself,” he concluded.
The second T20I will be played in Lucknow on Sunday.