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“Didn’t face him. Smart boy,” Kieron Pollard on not facing Lockie Ferguson in the T20I

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New Zealand and West Indies played out a thrilling T20 match at the Eden Park in Auckland on Friday. The hosts, New Zealand emerged victorious in the end, winning with just 4 balls to spare. In a cheeky comment post-match, Kieron Pollard said “Didn’t face him. Smart boy,” referring to Lockie Ferguson. The Kiwi pacer produced a top class bowling display as he took 5 wickets for just 21 runs in his 4 over spell.

The first T20 match between the two sides was shortened to just 16 overs after rain played a spoil sport. West Indies raced to score of 58 runs in just 3.2 overs, after which Fletcher was dismissed. It started a procession of wickets as the Windies side lost 4 more wickets for just 1 run and were reeling at 59-5.

Kieron Pollard produced an innings from the top draw as he scored an unbeaten knock of 75 runs in just 37 balls which includes 8 sixes and four boundaries. West Indies ended the first innings with a score of 180 runs. New Zealand were given a revised target of 176 runs.

The Kiwis chased down the score with a few handy knocks from the likes of Devon Conway, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner and Glenn Philllps. The Black Caps found themselves in a spot of bother as they were reeling at 63 for the loss of 4 wickets, with Ross Taylor out for a duck. However, Neesham and Santner’s amazing knocks guided the Kiwis to a victory.

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Kieron Pollard speaking after the match spoke about his knock and Lockie Ferguson’s performance. “For me, when the bowlers have their tails up, you have to try something as a batter,” Pollard said about his knock. “Sometimes you just have to make one mistake. The rain and the nature of the pitch sort of helped us, with the ball coming through.”

“The opening bowlers were a bit short. But he (Ferguson) changed his length and bowled a bit fuller, and that’s why he was successful. Again, a daunting task, but these are the situations you train for as individuals, when your team is in trouble you try to get them out,” Pollard said.

Lockie Ferguson who was adjudged the man of the match for his performance with the ball, also praised Kieron Pollard for his incredible display with the bat. “When you face these guys – especially Kieron, who has been very successful – over the last few months, winning every competition there is, you’re under the pump [and at] Eden Park [the margin for error] gets even smaller,” said Ferguson after the game.

“I thought we bowled a couple of yorkers that only missed by a little bit and they went a long way into the boundary. Once again, we have to look at our plans and execute them better going forward. That’s pretty cliche in T20 cricket.

“You have good days and you have bad. If we continue to improve, we’ll be better for it. But you’ve got to tip your hat when a guy plays an innings like that, especially after we got quick wickets but he settled himself and had a quick burst in the end,” said Ferguson.

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Lockie Ferguson was also overjoyed given how the match proceeded and playing in front of the fans after a long time. “The Black Caps are a pretty tight bunch of mates and when anyone does well and wins the game for us, then of course we get around them. I think that’s a big part of our culture. We try to drive that. Obviously pumped that Sants (Mitchell Santner) and Neesh (Jimmy Neesham) could get some runs and bat well at the end there,” said the Kiwi pacer.

“Certainly, we’ll celebrate tonight. It was one of the craziest games I’ve ever been part of. I was in the changing room for our whole batting innings not sure what to do,” concluded Ferguson.