It was not India’s day at McLean Park. So much so that for the first time Virat Kohli’s hundred on the chase did not win the game for India.
Skipper M.S. Dhoni could not quite mask his disappointment after the gripping contest. “The three wickets we lost, myself, Jadeja and Virat, in quick succession... that was the turning point,” said Dhoni.
“Till then we were in the game. We needed another partnership and that did not happen,” he added.
Dhoni felt the openers were not contributing enough. He also said the side was not getting weighty runs at the No. 4 and 5 slots.
“We have the firepower in batting. It is just that recently we have had more pressure on the lower middle order, which has to fight back all the time,” the Indian captain stated.
He was lavish in his praise for Kohli. “He is a free flowing batsman. He makes his starts count.”
On four Indian batsmen getting out to the hook and the pull shots, Dhoni said: “The other option is not to play the shot. With two bouncers allowed in an over, the batsmen are not willing to let the ball go. We have to play the shot, but judiciously.”
On the lack of wickets from the Indian spinners, he said, “their roles are different away India. I thought our spinners bowled well. They do not prepare wickets here to help the Indian spinners.
“In any case, when we play four pacemen we get into trouble with the number of overs and I get banned for a game!” Dhoni was not in favour of the four pacemen theory.
‘Good fight back’
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said his side fought back well after the game seemed to have got away from it. “It was different when Dhoni and Virat were together. It is funny how a couple of wickets can change things. Suddenly, we were in the driver’s seat,” he said.
He applauded Corey Anderson’s effort with the bat and the ball. McCullum also dwelt on Mitchell McClenaghan’s ability to pick crucial wickets. “As long as it’s working for him, it’s good for us.”
McCullum acknowledged the value of the half-centuries from Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor in the middle-overs. “They played the spinners very well. Set the innings up.”
He was concerned about Adam Milne’s side-strain but said, “He bowled with real hostility out there.”
The heavy-hitting Corey Anderson said he was not thinking about fat IPL contracts but focussing on the series.
“The more international cricket I play, the better I will get in my bowling,” he said.