New Zealand opener Martin Guptill heaped huge praise on veteran India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin ahead of 2nd T20I in Ranchi. Ashwin made a comeback to India’s limited-overs set-up in the recently concluded T20 World Cup after almost four years. The off-spnner instantly made an impact in the mega ICC tournament and got awarded a place in India’s squad for the ongoing T20I series against New Zealand.
Guptill hailed the veteran off-spinner and said he don’t remember Ashwin bowling any bad balls throughout his career.
“He’s a wily bowler, he’s got great control of his line and length and he just doesn’t bowl bad balls. I don’t remember him bowling me any bad balls throughout his career,” said Guptill in the post-match press conference.
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Ashwin played a crucial role in India’s victory over New Zealand in the opening T20I as he claimed two big wickets to derail the Kiwis innings. The 35-year-old dismissed Mark Chapman and Glenn Phillips in an over to bring India back in the game.
Guptill said that Ashwin is very hard to get away due to his well-controlled change of pace.
“He’s just very difficult to get away, you know, his change of pace is so subtle and so well-controlled, he’s just very hard to get away,” said Guptill.
Ashwin is also close to surpassing Jasprit Bumrah’s tally of most wickets for India in T20Is. The veteran off-spinner (60) is currently third on the list behind Bumrah (66) and Yuzvendra Chahal (63).
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Ashwin has had a great impact on the first match of the T20I series against New Zealand on Wednesday, as he claimed 2-23 in his four overs. With the bowlers restricting New Zealand to 164/6 in their allotted overs, India rode on good batting by skipper Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav to win the match by five wickets at Jaipur on Wednesday.
The one point where India would like some more improvement is in applying the finishing touches with the bat. With 23 runs needed off the last four overs, one would have expected India to reach home early. But the New Zealand pace trio of captain Tim Southee, Trent Boult, and Lockie Ferguson conceded just 13 runs in 17th, 18th, and 19th overs to bring the equation to 10 runs needed off the final over. It took a four each from debutant Venkatesh Iyer and Rishabh Pant to seal the deal for India despite Daryl Mitchell taking out the former.
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