A blistering 70 from the bat of Martin Guptill helped the Kiwis snap a five-match losing streak as the Black Caps strolled to a five-wicket victory over the Men in Blue. It was a hideous effort from the Indian batsmen, who could only set the Kiwis a target of 146 despite KL Rahul scoring a fifty.
After being put in to bat first, Rohit Sharma’s sorry showing with the bat continued in this SRL as the opener perished for just 5, leaving India in a precarious position early on. A promising 38-run partnership between KL Rahul and Virat Kohli then ensued, but the dismissal of the latter then triggered a mini-collapse, with the Men in Blue then quickly being reduced to 93/7. However, a valiant half-century from Rahul and a few lusty blows from the bat of Navdeep Saini marshalled India’s total to 146.
Having lost each of their last 5 games, New Zealand’s chase got off to a disastrous start, with both Munro and Williamson perishing within the first four overs, but then two fine partnerships - Guptill/Taylor and Guptill/Seifert - took the Black Caps within striking distance. Guptill, who scored 70, then perished going for glory, but ice-cold strikes from Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme was enough to ensure that the Kiwis finally registered a W after a string of Ls.
Loose bowling from the Indian new-ball bowlers after scalping two quick wickets came back to bite them on the backside as both Guptill and Taylor took their opportunity to run out of harm’s way with both hands. At 18/2, India had a golden opportunity to choke the Kiwis right then and there, but them conceding 22 off the last 2 powerplay overs meant that the Black Caps felt no pressure whatsoever. When 148 is all you’re defending, you simply cannot offer presents to your opponent. Unfortunately, India did.
Highs and Lows
The kick gained out of watching a tail-ender whack express pacers all over the mark is truly unmatched and today, Navdeep Saini provided the fans with a knock for the ages. At 94/7, India were staring down the barrel but Saini’s onslaught - a 21-ball 32 which included 2 fours and 1 six - brought the entire crowd to its feet and injected a ray of hope within the Indian supporters.
A no-show is something you generally expect from the Kiwi batsmen, but roles were reversed today as it was the Indian middle-order that decided to go AWOL. Iyer, Pant, Pandya and Jadeja combinedly scored a total of 21 runs in 27 balls and refused to put any kind of fight against the Kiwi attack. Did someone remind them that cricketers don’t have holidays for Labour Day?
Powerplay exploitation: - India 8/10 and New Zealand 7/10
India losing a wicket or two in the powerplay has become a common sighting of late, but on the day, they did well to keep the scoring rate high despite setbacks. Seven boundaries were how much they hit inside the first 6 overs and all these largely came from the bat of skipper Kohli, who hit 3 fours and 1 six in what was a counter-attacking knock, after losing Rohit Sharma early. 52/2 is not a bad start by any means.
At the four-over mark, it looked like the Kiwis were going to end up losing the match inside the powerplay, but a late onslaught from Guptill and Taylor ensured that it wasn’t going to be the case. Despite playing 13 dots in the first six overs, the Kiwis somehow dragged themselves to a score of 40/2 by the end of the 6th over. While 40/2 is never an ideal start, that the target was only 148 did end up helping New Zealand’s cause.
Middle overs manoeuvring: - India 2/10 and New Zealand 7.5/10
All the hard work put in by Kohli and Rahul in the powerplay were undone in seconds by the Indian middle-order batsmen as they staggeringly ended up scoring JUST 43 RUNS in the entirety of the middle overs, for the loss of 5 wickets. In what was a shambolic display of middle-overs manoeuvring, the Indian batsmen let the part-time duo of Neesham and de Grandhomme bowl four overs for figures of 4-15-0-3. Poor Rahul could not just believe what he was witnessing.
It was almost as if New Zealand fed on the momentum they gathered in overs 5 and 6 as the entirety of their chase post over 4 went in fourth gear, with them at no point allowing the Indian bowlers to dictate play. Between them, both Jadeja and Chahal were able to pick up just one wicket and this effectively meant that New Zealand exit the middle-overs completely unscathed. 74 was what they scored between overs 7 and 15, all for the loss of just one wicket.
Death bowling:- New Zealand 3/10 and India 5/10
When you have your opponents by the scruff of their neck, at 95/7, at the end of the 15th over, you expect your bowlers to knock them off under 120 but the Kiwis staggeringly let the duo of Rahul and Saini dominate them and ended up conceding 51 runs off the last 5 overs without picking a single wicket. The hideous performance at the death saw them concede 4 extras - including an unnecessary no-ball - while bowling just four dot balls.
33 off 30 was what the Kiwis needed heading into the death overs and the Indian resistance was destroyed within overs by Guptill, who absolutely teed off in the final five. Despite trying their best, the trio of Chahal, Shardul and Saini ended up conceding 28 runs off the first three death overs and a couple of meaty blows from Neesham and de Grandhomme was then enough to seal the deal for New Zealand. Can’t blame the bowlers here, for the match was already lost between overs 5-15.
Match Frenzy O Meter - Bad
A New Zealand game getting rated ‘bad’ isn’t a surprise anymore, but for once, they were on the right end of things. It was India’s dismal display with the bat that killed the excitement in the encounter and by the half-way stage of innings number two, it was pretty obvious that the Black Caps were going to win.
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