WT20: Spin trio helps Kiwis take flight, scripts India's downfall
Title favourites India capitulated to a shocking 47-run defeat against a spirited New Zealand in a low-scoring game as the hosts launched their ICC World Twenty20 campaign in the most ignominious manner
Nagpur: When Kane Williamson decided to leave out New Zealand's experienced pacers Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Mitchell McClenaghan for yesterday's opening World T20 opener against India at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium here, the decision was viewed as a baffling one.
The New Zealand team celebrates the fall of an Indian wicket during the World T20 match between India and New Zealand at The Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur on Tuesday. Pic/AFP
NZ bank on spin
But the skipper read the pitch correctly and went ahead and fielded all three spinners in their ranks — Nathan McCullum, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi. They claimed all but one wicket as India were bowled out for 79 runs. New Zealand thus continued their dominance over India in T20 cricket with a 47-run victory to give the tournament favourites a wake-up call.
Sharp turning track
Chasing New Zealand's 126-7 in 20 overs was never going to be a cakewalk on a sharp turning track. Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina all departed with just 12 runs on the board. Yuvraj Singh tried to play positively like his partner Virat Kohli, but was caught and bowled McCullum for 4.
Very rarely would one see MS Dhoni getting a chance to bat in the Powerplay overs, but he was forced to do so with the Indian innings in ruins. Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi struck in the first ball of his first over and got Kohli caught behind for 23. Hopes of an Indian recovery were thwarted and it seemed someone had pressed the mute button after Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja departed in the space of four balls.
India's Suresh Raina (right) celebrates with teammates Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni (left) after the wicket of New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson during the World T20 match between India and New Zealand at The Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur on Tuesday. Pic/AFP
The silent crowd erupted when Dhoni hit the first six of the Indian innings in the 17th over, but the joy did not last long as R Ashwin was stumped by Luke Ronchi as Sodhi once again broke a match-reviving eighth-wicket partnership of 30 runs.
Dhoni goes, fans go
Once Dhoni departed, courtesy a well-judged catch by McCullum at long on, all hopes evaporated. The dejected fans began leaving the ground and won't regret the decision of taking an early ride home.
Earlier in the evening, New Zealand opener Martin Guptill clubbed a six off the very first delivery of the match, but was trapped leg before wicket off the next ball by off-spinner R Ashwin.
Struggling at 61 for four, Corey Anderson hit 34 off 42 balls before Jasprit Bumrah disturbed his furniture. Wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi's unbeaten 11-ball 21 gave helped NZ reach 126.
Did you know?
India lost its only match in the victorious 2011 World Cup-winning campaign in Nagpur (vs South Africa)
New Zealand: 126 for seven in 20 overs (Corey Anderson 34; Jasprit Bumrah 1/15, Suresh Raina 1/15).
India: 79 all out in 18.1 overs (Mahendra Singh Dhoni 30; Mitchell Santner 4/11).