Black Caps coach Gary Stead has defended his decisions during his side's dramatic Twenty20 Super Over defeat against India on Wednesday night.
The Black Caps wasted a stunning innings from captain Kane Williamson at Seddon Park, being unable to score two runs from the final four balls of their chase of India's 179-5, and eventually heading to their third Super Over in six months. There, despite scoring 17 in their turn at bat, Tim Southee couldn't restrict India, with Rohit Sharma blasting two sixes when needing 10 off two balls to send New Zealand to another demoralising defeat, one which clinched the series for India.
Southee has now bowled in five Super Overs for New Zealand, losing his last four and conceding 13, 19, 17 and 20 runs in those losses. However, Stead wasn't about to second-guess the decision to back his senior bowler in the decider.
"Tim sticks his hand up, he's very much a team-first player, he missed on a couple [deliveries] and if one hit the guy in the boot we wouldn't be having this conversation. That's the fine margins of the T20 game.
"It really comes down to what happens on the day and who is in our armoury. If you look at the rest of our bowling group they're relatively inexperienced at this level of T20, so Tim for us was the logical person to do it."
The other strategic move that came under scrutiny in Hamilton was the elevation of Mitchell Santner to bat at number four. It didn't work, with Santner mustering just nine off 11 balls, but Stead explained that the surprise move was planned for the left-hander to try and change India's spin bowling strategies.
"With [Yuzvendra] Chahal and [Ravindra] Jadeja both bringing the ball back into the bat, we felt that perhaps it was an opportunity where he could go out there and do some damage in one over, it might have changed how India used them," said Stead.
"It didn't come off, but in terms of the strategy, it was well thought out and talked about within the group."
Black Caps coach Gary Stead. Photo / Getty
Ultimately, Stead was disappointed with how his side failed to get across the line when the game was within their reach, though took some solace from the fact they were at least in a position to claim victory.
"We are hurting about the loss because it's a game we should have won.
"They're the little moments in which we have to get better – we had it in our grasp. We'll keep working away, but we also know that we should have won, and the first game we were very close as well, so that's encouraging for us in the big-picture.
"It's not doom and gloom, but it is something we have to address and get better at."