World Cup

Stumbling start

The game of cricket is a glorious gamble and New Zealand’s decision to pick three spinners of all variety — off-spinner Nathan McCullum, left-armer Mitchell Santner and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi — enabled it outwit the home team batsmen on a surface that helped them to a prodigious extent.

Defending a small total of 126, which reflected the sub-standard quality of the pitch, New Zealand chipped away relentlessly to deal a shock 47-run defeat to the host in the opening match of the ICC World T20 at the Vidarbha Cricket Stadium here on Tuesday.

The star-studded Indian batting line-up did not have the resources to quell the challenge posed by the vicious turning ball. It was New Zealand’s fifth consecutive win against India in the shortest form of the game.

A procession

The writing on the wall was clear once left-hander Shikhar Dhawan unwisely swept at McCullum off the third ball he faced and Rohit Sharma danced down the pitch to Santner, missed the line and offered a straightforward stumping chance to Luke Ronchi.

Suresh Raina soon followed, lobbing a dolly to Martin Guptill at short mid-wicket. With more than half the side back in the dugout by the 10th over, the target was beyond reach. Only skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni offered a semblance of resistance.

First-ball six

Earlier, after Kane Williamson won the toss, Guptill got the tournament off to a thundering start when he sent the first ball from R. Ashwin sailing beyond the straight boundary. But, just as the crowd braced itself for another mighty hit, the clever off-spinner won a leg-before decision from Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena.

It was the breakthough that allowed India to call the shots for 92 minutes and although it did not dismiss all 10 batsmen, New Zealand’s total of 126 was its lowest, batting first in five matches against India.

Williamson’s decision to bat first may have been based on the venue’s past of assisting spinners. Clearly the New Zealand skipper did not see much in the ICC advisory to curators to roll out sporting tracks.

While the home spinners made things difficult for New Zealand, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah rattled the batsmen with yorker-length deliveries, one of which accounted for Corey Anderson, the highest scorer in the first session.

It was after the downfall of Colin Munro, who had earlier reverse hit Ashwin for a six over square-leg, that New Zealand changed its game-plan. It took the cautious approach against the part-time off-spin of Raina and left-arm spinner Jadeja, who extracted the most from the North end of the wicket.

With pressure building on the Kiwis to step up the scoring rate, wickets tumbled as Raina and Dhawan’s razor-sharp throws resulted in the run-outs of Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott.


New Zealand: Martin Guptill lbw b Ashwin 6 (2b, 1x6), Kane Williamson st Dhoni b Raina 8 (16b, 1x4), Colin Munro c Pandya b Nehra 7 (6b, 1x6), Corey Anderson b Bumrah 34 (42b, 3x4), Ross Taylor run out 10 (14b, 1x4), Mitchell Santner c Dhoni b Jadeja 18 (17b, 2x4), Grant Elliott run out 9 (12b), Luke Ronchi (not out) 21 (11b, 2x4, 1x6), Nathan McCullum (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (b-4, lb-3, w-6): 13; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 126.

Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Guptill), 2-13 (Munro), 3-35 (Williamson), 4-61 (Taylor), 5-89 (Anderson), 6-98 (Santner), 7-114 (Elliott).

India bowling: R. Ashwin 4-0-32-1, Ashish Nehra 3-0-20-1, Jasprit Bumrah 4-0-15-1, Suresh Raina 4-0-16-1, Ravindra Jadeja 4-0-26-1, Hardik Pandya 1-0-10-0.

India: Rohit Sharma st Ronchi b Santner 5 (7b), Shikhar Dhawan lbw b McCullum 1 (3b), Virat Kohli c Ronchi b Sodhi 23 (27b, 2x4), Suresh Raina c Guptill b Santner 1 (2b), Yuvraj Singh c & b McCullum 4 (5b, 1x4), M.S. Dhoni c McCullum b Santner 30 (30b, 1x4, 1x6), Harish Pandya lbw b Santner 1 (7b), Ravindra Jadeja c & b Sodhi 0 (3b), R. Ashwin st Ronchi b Sodhi 10 (20b), Ashish Nehra b Milne 0 (4b), Jasprit Bumrah not out 0 (2b); Extras (w-3, nb-1): 4; Total (in 18.1 overs): 79.

Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Dhawan), 2-10 (Rohit), 3-12 (Raina), 4-26 (Yuvraj), 5-39 (Kohli), 6-42 (Pandya), 7-43 (Jadeja), 8-73 (Ashwin), 9-79 (Dhoni).

New Zealand bowling: Nathan McCullum 3-0-15-2, Corey Anderson 3-0-18-0, Mitchell Santner 4-0-11-4, Grant Elliott 2-0-9-0, Adam Milne 2.1-0-8-1, Ish Sodhi 4-0-18-3.

Toss: New Zealand.

Player-of-the-match: Santner.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 8:33:32 AM |

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