India slumped to a 6 wicket loss as New Zealand chased down 281 in 49 overs after the home side won the toss and batted first. It was a good toss to win, considering the dew factor that sets in the second innings, but New Zealand were far too good for India.
The visitors bowled well to cause another shaky start for the Indian batsmen, who are developing a bad habit which forces their lower middle order to rescue them from dire straits. Thankfully for them, they somewhat did so once again, but India were still a few runs short after the innings ended.
New Zealand will be delighted with their performance in the first match. Beating India at home is never an easy task. They look like a team with a plan which they executed perfectly, and India should be worried.
Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Trent Boult, Matt Henry, Colin Munro, Glenn Phillips, George Worker, Henry Nicholls, Ish Sodhi
Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur
Where the Teams Stand
The biggest question surrounding New Zealand after their victory is of consistency. Latham and Taylor were brilliant in the run chase, carrying their team through with scores of 103 and 95 respectively, but can they do this a couple more times this series? The same applies to the rest of the top five. If they can, New Zealand can expect to win a few more matches in India. The hallmark of their innings was how well they played spin, something Australia struggled with heavily when they came to India before the Black Caps. If their openers contribute too, this series will prove to be a highly interesting contest.
Trent Boult was phenomenal for New Zealand, getting them off to a great start with the ball as he took out both openers before India reached 30. His economy of 3.5 in 10 overs is outstanding, especially for a pacer. Southee complimented Boult well, taking three wickets, including the prized scalp of Kohli in the last over of the innings. However, he was expensive, ending with an economy of 7.3. Santner is a handy spinner to have in Indian conditions. He was efficient on a pitch that favours pacers, aggregating figures of 1-41.
Picking Milne over Henry was a tactical mistake which didn’t pay off. The former proved to be expensive and wicketless with an economy of 6.9. Another issue is the number of wides they bowled in the last match (10), something they will want to cut down on. Barring this, New Zealand have a well-balanced bowling attack for Indian conditions.
Kohli’s persistence with Jadhav due to his bowling abilities is not paying him the dividends he would have expected. He might as well play Axar Patel if he wants another spinner in the team. Where his utilization of Pandya has been excellent, the same cannot be said for Jadhav who has had to mellow his batting temperament to preserve his wicket. This resulted in him scoring 12 from 25, yet another innings of his where he finished with a woeful strike rate. This is not working.
India desperately needs stability in their middle order, and Ajinkya Rahane is perfectly suited for the role. However, Kohli refuses to “confuse” him by making him bat in the middle order. One can be sure that Rahane would play in the middle order over warming the bench. This reasoning reeks of stubbornness, and it will not help India win any matches.
India’s bowling was not up to the mark in the first match. The Black Caps played the attack with utmost ease, and the spinners were particularly ineffective. Yadav has been consistently expensive, but he usually makes up for it by taking wickets. On occasions where he fails to do so, however, his economy is a major liability. This has been a constant feature of his bowling since the last few series’ and it is something he needs to rectify soon. Kumar has not been amongst the wickets for a while now, a worrying sign for the leader of the attack. His inconsistency is another issue Kohli needs to contend with.
India’s openers need to bat well consistently. Shikhar Dhawan’s batting suggests that he has taken his place in the side for granted. His inconsistency is not tenable, especially with the number of quality replacements waiting for a chance in a cricketing nation like India. Unless Kohli makes changes, these same problems will continue to persist.
Despite the criticism of India’s tactics, they still hold a slight edge. The prediction is India win.
Can New Zealand stun India again, or will India bounce back? Let us know in the comments below.
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?