India beat New Zealand for the first time in six attempts, restricting them to a total 53 runs short of the target set by them. The visitors won the toss and fielded. India then reached 202 through a blitzkrieg from their openers, who scored 80 each. Kohli also contributed with 26 from just 11 balls to power his team to a score over 200.
New Zealand never got going, especially after the terrible start they suffered. They finished at 149-8, miles short of where they needed to be. The Black Caps have been performing well in India, but this was one match where India completely dominated proceedings. Will this continue, or will New Zealand surprise the world again?
Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Siraj.
Where the teams stand
Amidst all the carnage suffered by the New Zealand bowlers, Ish Sodhi was exceptional in his first match of the tour. The spinner finished with figures of 2-25 from his four overs. Santner was decent, conceding 30 runs in his quota without taking a wicket. The rest all bore the brunt of the Dhawan-Sharma partnership. Boult ended with an economy of just over 12, showing that the Indians have learned how to play him given his initial success on the tour.
The New Zealand opening combination has been quite a liability for the team throughout the tour. They have failed to give the middle order a solid foundation, either of the two departing too early. Munro played well in the third ODI, scoring 75 off 62 balls, but Guptill has failed to cross 32 in four matches so far. Latham has been a lone shining light for New Zealand consistently across all the games, his lowest being 38 in the second ODI. The batting will largely hinge on his and Williamson’s ability to string together a meaningful partnership and carry the team through.
Ashish Nehra had a fitting farewell, the stalwart choosing to retire after a long career of ups and downs. Once an important part of the bowling attack, the pacer has time and again defied concerns regarding his fitness and bowling prowess. The Indian bowling attack was largely effective, except Bumrah, who was on the expensive side with an economy of 9.25. Axar Patel had a great game though, taking 2-20 in four overs. He looks certain to retain his place over Kuldeep Yadav.
For once, the Indian openers combined to put up a steady partnership, and the result is a score of 202 in 20 overs. Dhawan and Sharma performed well individually in alternate matches preceding the T20, with the latter scoring 147 in the third ODI and the former aggregating 68 in the second game. India will hope that at least one of them can continue to score big at the top.
Pandya had a rare off day, departing for a duck, but he remains a lethal threat to the Black Caps. The biggest question requiring an answer is who will replace Nehra in the team. If Kohli wants another bowler to give him an extra option, Siraj is likely to be his pick.
He has Pandey, KL Rahul, and Karthik to choose from. The latter has the strongest case for selection amongst the batsmen given his recent run of form, but choosing him means relying heavily on the bowling attack to all perform collectively. India’s batting lineup could use reinforcement in the middle order given the opening partnerships unreliability and the debutant Shreyas Iyer. Either way, Kohli and Shastri will go with what fits them best.
India win. India did enough in the first game of this Twenty20 series to get the win and they should be in a position to get the job done again in the second clash.
Will India win again, or can New Zealand cause an upset? Let us know in the comments below.
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