India levelled the series 1-1 after winning the second ODI by six wickets. The visitors scored 230 in the first innings after they won the toss and batted. However, they fell to 58-4 in 16 overs, stumbling through the innings to finish on a sub-par score. India then comfortably chased the total down in 46 overs.
After a disappointing first ODI, India were much better in the second one. They dropped Kuldeep Yadav for Axar Patel, and it worked. They also rectified a major flaw in their batting strategy, one we at RealSport talked at length about. Add stability in the middle order, and India have the perfect recipe for success. Can they continue to capitalize, or will New Zealand bounce back?
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
After a splendid first ODI with the bat, New Zealand stumbled across their innings in the second match after losing their top four cheaply. However, their lower middle order performed decently to save the innings. Nicholls and de Grandhomme scored 42 and 41 respectively to clear some of the doubts hanging over their ability to perform in the subcontinent.
Santner and Southee added 50 more runs to the total, but it would never be enough. Off day aside, consistency remains the biggest issue for any team visiting the subcontinent, and New Zealand needs to prove that the first ODI wasn’t just a product of chance.
New Zealand have cultivated a bad habit of bowling an abnormally high number of wides. They bowled nine such illegal deliveries in the second match, and 10 in the first one. Leaking runs in this manner is not acceptable. The bowlers maintained a decent line against the Indians, but they were far too good for them.
Dhawan and Karthik were rock solid at the crease, the latter taking his team home. India were in no hurry to win, and that made it much harder to force them to make mistakes. The bowling needs to improve drastically from the second ODI if they wish to compete in the third match. They looked like they had given up at half-time itself, a condemnable attitude which reflected in their performance, and ultimately, the result.
Kudos to Kohli for demoting Jadhav to number seven, his natural batting slot. His misery at number four was finally brought to an end, and it paid hefty dividends. Dinesh Karthik took full advantage of this change, pouncing on his opportunity with a match-winning 64 to guide his side home.
Dhawan performed too after what feels like ages. However, India’s fragile opening partnership is a massive area of concern. Consistently losing an early wicket is not a healthy sign. While it looks like Kohli might just persist with the Sharma-Dhawan duo for now, they need to look for alternatives for the long run if things do not improve.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has not been amongst the wickets for a while now, took three wickets to conclude a remarkable performance from him. Bumrah and Chahal chipped in with two wickets each, ensuring that the Black Caps do not reach a competitive total.
Patel took a wicket too, but he maintained a relatively low economy rate. This was the main reason he was selected over Yadav, and he grabbed the opportunity. Overall, India corrected all their mistakes except one from the first ODI and reaped the benefits. All they now need to do is continue to play this way.
India to win this third game and to take a 2-1 advantage in the series.
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