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Where India Faltered Against New Zealand

November 01, 2021 06:46 IST
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IMAGE: India's Captain Virat Kohli goes for a big shot and is caught by Trent Boult (not in picture) near the boundary as New Zealand wicket-keeper Devon Conway watches. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

After the opening loss to Pakistan, India were under the pump even before they took the field for their ICC World Cup Super 12 match against New Zealand in Dubai on Sunday. And that clearly reflected in their performance.

That New Zealand won the toss and elected to field (but obviously) was the beginning of the spell of doom for the Indian camp.

The toss may have not gone in India's favour, but toying with the Playing XI seemed a bizarre call.

Suryakumar Yadav was replaced by Ishan Kishan -- SKY was left out because of 'back spasms'. But that was where India's troubles began.

Instead of the tried, tested and successful opening pair of K L Rahul and Rohit Sharma coming out to bat, the Indian team management pulled up a surprise by sending Kishan in the middle with Rahul.

And, expectedly, India got off to a torrid start -- not only was Kishan dismissed in the third over, Rohit could not make the most of the reprieve he got in the same over.

Although Rohit and Rahul looked in good nick and were setting up a partnership, Southee struck, having Rahul caught in the deep for 18.

New Zealand rarely bowled loose deliveries and when they did, they invariably got wickets off them.

And that was India's other big problem on the night -- their inability to build partnerships because of faulty shot selection. The second-wicket partnership of 24 between Rahul and Rohit was highest in the innings.

Be it Kishan's shot to deep square leg, Rahul and Rohit's pull shots to the deep or Kohli's slog sweep to long on, each of these dismissals came off deliveries that did not truly merit wickets.

While the wicket at the Dubai international stadium is known to be tough to bat on the first innings, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi only made life tougher for the Indians, especially in the post powerplay overs. They bowled in the right areas and picked wickets at regular intervals to give India no chance of a revival.

At no point were the India batters given the freedom to swing their arms or get any boundaries down the ground. The sixes and fours had completely dried up in the middle of the innings.

Although Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya got a couple of boundaries and a six at the fag end, there was just no let up from the Kiwi bowlers. India only hit 2 sixes in their innings.

New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell top-scored with a breezy 49.

IMAGE: New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell top scored with a breezy 49. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Kane Williamson rotated his bowlers smartly and marshalled his troops well to keep India at bay. Also, save for a couple of dropped catches, New Zealand's fielding complemented their bowling.

110 was never going to be a challenge to chase down on that wicket.

India needed to get early breakthroughs to make any headway in to the match, but that was not to be. Save for Martin Guptill's wicket in the 4th over, off Jasprit Bumrah's bowling -- Boom Boom bowled with a lot of sting -- New Zealand had already started in top gear.

Once Williamson joined Mitchell in the middle, they played with minimal risk and cruised through the innings. Mitchell missed his half-century by one run, but his breezy innings took New Zealand to the edge of victory.

Save Bumrah, the other Indian bowlers were wayward and taken to the cleaners. Jadeja was whipped for 23 runs off his two overs. Hardik bent his back for a couple of overs but he was taken for 19 runs. Had the Indian bowlers taken early wickets, the situation would have shaken the Kiwis.

But that was not to be as the Kiwis made light work of the total.

This will put the Kiwis in a good headspace while India will have to go back to the drawing board and rejig their plans for the matches against Afghanistan, Namibia and Scotland. Neither the batting has worked nor has the bowling clicked in the two matches played so far.

Thoroughly outplayed by New Zealand, India have a lot to work on and come out strongly against Afghanistan on Wednesday, November 3.

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