Published On: Wed, Mar 16th, 2016

New Zealand spin India to defeat in World T20 opener



India failed to live up to their billing as favourites for the ICC World Twenty20 after succumbing to spin in a 47-run defeat against New Zealand in their opening match in Nagpur.

On a tricky pitch that gripped and turned, the tournament hosts were embarrassed after being bundled out for 79 – their lowest score in the format in India – with nine of their wickets falling to spin and only three of their batsmen making it to double figures.

Slow left-armer Mitchell Santner took four for 11 while leg-spinner Ish Sodhi chipped in with three scalps as the Black Caps were rewarded for including three turners in their line-up after going on to claim their first victory in Group 2 of the Super 10s.

New Zealand had never lost to India in the shortest format but that looked in danger after they were restricted to 126 for seven, having decided to bat first.

A breathtaking opening over saw Martin Guptill clobber the first delivery back down the ground for six before he fell lbw next ball, attempting to sweep Ravichandran Ashwin.

Two balls later Colin Munro reverse smashed into the crowd but New Zealand’s progress was stifled thereafter following a sensational collective bowling effort from Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side.

Munro quickly lost patience, coming down the pitch and mis-hitting Ashish Nehra to cover, while skipper Kane Williamson made a painstaking eight before he was stumped in Suresh Raina’s first over.

Big-hitters Corey Anderson and Ross Taylor attempted to rebuild but the latter was sensationally run out by Raina.

The part-time off-spinner collected a straight drive by Anderson and, after seeing Taylor out of his crease, quickly released the ball on to the stumps, with the non-striker only just short of his ground and run out for 10.

Anderson was then bowled for a becalmed 34 from 42 balls by a skilful yorker from Jasprit Bumrah to leave the Kiwis on 89 for five in the 16th over, and only a quickfire 21 off 11 balls from Luke Ronchi carried the Kiwis to a respectable score.

“It was a tough surface,” Williamson said. “Any score was going to be tough here but we would have liked to have a few more. We went in with this bowling attack after we had a look at the conditions.”

Their hopes of an unlikely victory were boosted when Nathan McCullum trapped Shikhar Dhawan in front before Rohit Sharma was stumped and Raina caught at short midwicket in Santner’s first over.

Yuvraj Singh offered a simple return catch to McCullum to leave India on 26 for four as their batsmen, like New Zealand’s before them, struggled to get to grips with a pitch offering plenty of assistance for the slow bowlers.

Kohli had been relieving the pressure at the other end but even he laboured at times and India suddenly looked in peril when their dangerman rashly slashed behind off Sodhi’s first ball to depart for 23.

Santner had his third scalp when Hardik Pandya was trapped in front playing back and the wheels looked to be coming off when Sodhi took an excellent catch to dismiss Ravindra Jadeja off his own bowling as India were reduced to 43 for seven.

Dhoni and Ashwin managed to avoid complete collapse but the dismissal of the former, caught at long-on off Santner for 30, left any faint hopes in tatters, and the Black Caps duly wrapped up a memorable win as India were all out in 18.1 overs.

“It was a low scoring wicket,” Dhoni said. “I thought we restricted them to a good total but the batting let us down. The shot selection kept putting pressure on the batsmen coming in.

“They bowled well and exploited the conditions but we lacked adaptability. We could have applied ourselves more.”


About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology