Nagpur: The Men-in-Blue once again faltered against the Black caps as India lost their ICC World T20 opener against New Zealand by 47 runs at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Jamtha, Nagpur on Tuesday.
New Zealand won the toss and Kane Williamson elected to bat first. It was a slow and turning track and therefore batting first was the right call.
New Zealand opened the batting with Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson, with Dhoni handing the ball to Ravichandran Ashwin. The first ball was hit for a six by Guptill and it seemed like New Zealand’s transition without Brendon McCullum was going well. Ashwin struck back with a wicket on the next ball and all of a sudden New Zealand was on the back foot.
New Zealand then lost two more wickets in the span of seven overs, scoring just 35 runs. Corey Anderson managed to play a sensible knock of 34 runs along with various partners. He was the highest run scorer of the game, which showed the the slow conditions of the track. Luke Ronchi added a quick 21 runs from 11 balls, which included two fours and one six, guiding New Zealand to a defendable total of 126 at the end of 20 overs.
The stands out bowlers for India were Jasprit Bumrah and Suresh Raina. The bowlers’ economy rates were 3.75 and 4.00, respectively. Bumrah’s Yorkers proved effective as it helped restrict New Zealand to a low total. He seems to have taken good lessons from Malinga, as both of them are part of the Mumbai Indian team.
India had the front foot going into the second innings. Restricting New Zealand to a total of 126 runs and with a solid batting line up, they seemed prepared to chase the target. The opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were high on confidence from the recent Asia cup.
However the conditions in Nagpur didn’t work in India’s favour. The innings never kicked off as India lost quick wickets and had no stable partnerships. Virat Kohli’s 23 runs in the middle along with Dhoni’s 30 runs later on in the innings were simply consolations.
Dhoni and Ashwin were supporting each other when India was 43-7. It seemed like the two would guide India home safely. However, the wicket of Ashwin at 73-8 made it clear that New Zealand were in the drivers’ seat.
In the end, India were all out for 79 runs, falling short of New Zealand by 47 runs. This match gives the Kiwis a big boost of confidence as they managed to beat the home side convincingly in the first game of the tournament. India is one step behind and the games aren’t going to get any easy, being part of the group of death the challenges are simply going to keep mounting.
However the best is yet to come and this is just the start of a very interesting tournament ahead.