New Zealand captain Kane Williamson spoke highly of his team’s dominant eight-wicket win against a “formidable India side” at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday. It was the first win for the Blackcaps at the T20 World Cup 2021, after they had lost to Pakistan in Sharjah on Tuesday.
New Zealand put India on the back foot right from the word go, with Trent Boult, Tim Southee, and Mitchell Santner showing great control in the powerplay overs after Kane Williamson opted to bowl. India were 35/2 after six overs, with Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul back in the hut.
Ish Sodhi then took over, pricing out the big wickets of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli to make it 48/4 in the 11th over. India were eventually limited to 110/7, with Ravindra Jadeja scoring an unbeaten 26.
New Zealand romped through the chase with 5.3 overs to spare, with Daryl Mitchell (49), Williamson (33*) and Martin Guptill (20) being the chief contributors.
Kane Williamson was highly pleased with the all-round show, and lauded Sodhi for his brilliance with the ball.
“There's always planning going into games,” said Williamson after the win. “But a fantastic all-round performance from us against a formidable India side. We were able to build pressure throughout and the way the openers came out really set the platform.
“The balance of our attack has two spinners in it, I think the collective unit was impressive, the way they kept passing the baton. We saw some very good signs in our first match as well and we built on that. Look, you play against such strong teams all the time, for us it's about playing our game.
“Ish is an outstanding T20 bowler, white-ball bowler in particular. He's been a big part and played in a number of comps, and in these conditions spin will play a part.”
Sodhi reflected on a match-winning performance, which came on his 29th birthday.
“I'm usually quite big on pre-match prep but with this bubble life we haven't been able to see the ground before we get there,” said Sodhi, as he received the Player of the Match award. “It was our first time here in Dubai and something we had to adapt to. I think a big part of our game is using spin in the middle. I think Southee getting that wicket late in the powerplay was important, it allowed the spinners to bowl.”