India vs New Zealand | How and where India lost first ODI in Mumbai

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BCCI

India vs New Zealand | How and where India lost first ODI in Mumbai

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Bastab K Parida

10/22/2017

New Zealand managed to exploit the chinks in the Indian armoury and thanks to some composed batting by Tom Latham and Ross Taylor, coupled with Trent Boult's brilliance, won the first game at the Wankhede. Bad decisions and top order changes put a halt to India's magnificent home run.

Trent Boult wrecks havoc, as expected

Since Zaheer Khan's exit from the international scene, India have never had a proper left-arm pacer in the team and apart from the occasional burst of Jaydev Unadkat and Barinder Sran, India haven't had to face the challenge in the nets either. Most recently, Australian left-arm quick Jason Behrendorff accounted for India's top four in the second T20I at Guwahati, exploiting his natural angle against the right-handers and paving way for the visitors' series-levelling victory. To avoid a similar situation, the Indian team management invited Arjun Tendulkar to get them accustomed to Trent Boult's devastating late swinging deliveries. But in the first game, Boult, being Boult, wrecked havoc on the Indian top order by not allowing them to open their arms. The Kiwi man bowled the regular angled-across deliveries which meant that everything he bowled went mostly in one direction and followed the same path - away from left-handers and into the right-handers. Knowing his natural angle, he also restained from bowling more full balls in his first spell thus not allowing the Indian openers to make the most of the powerplay overs. If that was not enough, he came out to bowl his second spell and bowled yorker length ones to keep the batsmen guessing at all times while sending MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya packing to exploit the chink in Indian batting order.

Kohli and Karthik defy odds with consummate ease

Returning to the ODI squad after missing the Australia series, Shikhar Dhawan got going straightaway, executing a straight drive for a couple and cover drive for a four off Tim Southee in the opening over, but after a very short period of time, it was evident that the game was not going to be an easy one for the batters going forward. Vindicating that, Boult picked up two in-form openers' wicket in the first powerplay, reducing India to 37/2 at the end of 10 overs. After that, to tackle the most challenging bowling line-up India have come across in One-day Internationals in recent months, on a wicket behaving totally opposite to its usual nature, all that was needed was patience and the duo of Virat Kohli and Dinesh Karthik applied themselves brilliantly. While Karthik took the driver's seat, taking the odd risk, Kohli didn't even try to hit a boundary given his counterpart had placed a wide slip to cut the dabbed single, the short midwicket to block his clip. Living up to his lofty standard, Kohli showed immaculate game awareness and tried to pick the singles on offer from the leg-side gaps. Also, before reaching his 31st century, Kohli was not at his fluent best, suffering from a strain, but thanks to the inhuman fitness level, he managed to hang around until the 50th over of the innings - a total of 46 overs on the crease. 

Why not, Jadhav?

New Zealand's struggle against spinners is not unknown to anyone and India didn't have to roll back too much to reach out to the footage of their recent performances against them, having played them at a similar time last year. But every now and then, the Kiwis had one or two batsmen, who could play the spinners with effortless ease. In the build-up to the series, many players including Tom Latham, the visitors' best batsman last year, Ross Taylor and coach Mike Hesson talked about the importance of facing in-form Indian spinners. However, the Indian skipper didn't test them much by not introducing the part-timer Kedar Jadhav to the attack. With an easy, repeatable action, decent loop, and most importantly the ability to land deliveries in half decent areas made Jadhav a bankable spinner as the batsman tried to take chances against him, which more often than not reaped rich dividends. So, while Kuldeep was going for runs, Kohli could have resorted to Jadhav for an over at least in a bid to break the partnership. On the flip side, it also went against India's plans as Kohli had to throw the ball to the duo of Kumar and Bumrah even before the slog overs arrived. 

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