A rejuvenated New Zealand unit leaking wounds of fresh 0-5 India Wash in the T20 International spectacularly turned the tide on team India comprehensively blackwashing them (3-0) in ODI series. In a couple weeks world cricket witnessed the dramatic turning around in the dogfight of the two top dogs of world cricket. All matches were thrilling encounters; all matches witnessed intriguing fights of bat and ball.
Summing up the ODI series after the third match of the series Cricinfo wrote eloquently:
“New Zealand consigned India to their first bilateral ODI whitewash in more than 30 years, riding on the efforts of a second-string attack missing Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry. Hamish Bennett's four-for and some tight bowling around him made sure India managed only 296 despite their biggest gain of the series: a middle-order core of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer.
New Zealand made the chase seem more difficult than it should have been after a 106-run opening stand between Henry Nicholls and Martin Guptill. Regular wickets, though, brought back memories of the T20I series debacle, but Tom Latham and a charmed Colin de Grandhomme saw them through from 220 for 5.”
Present Indian team is well equipped in all formats of the game for competing against any team on any surface anywhere in the world. They have horses for the courses whether in batting or bowling. This team also fields well. On the other hand New Zealand in recent times proved impregnable at home. On relatively smaller grounds in very windy environments teams from South Asian subcontinent always found challenging to adjust.
The home team before the series suffered huge blow as three of their front line bowlers Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry were unavailable due to injury. Still New Zealand competed well. Black caps should have won at least two of the five T20 matches ended tied from a position of winning. India for superior firepower won in the super overs. New Zealand suffered the ignominy of 0-5 India wash. The star New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor could not manage taking New Zealand across the finishing lines.
Two star performers Kane Williamson of New Zealand and Rohit Sharma of India unfortunately got injured before the commencement of 3 matches ODI series. While Rohit remained unavailable Williamson returned in the third match and proudly lifted the series winning trophy. Tom Latham captaining the team in two matches in his absence also performed admirably.
How New Zealand Turned Around?
The top dogs of New Zealand Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Gandhomme were not firing as expected in the T20 series. But they found their dynamic form with the start of ODI series. Tom Latham, Henry Nichols and Grandhomme also contributed with the bat. The all guns blazing Indian attack spearheaded by Bumrah, Shami and Jadeja either became predictable or black caps worked them out. It is not that India batted at all poorly. Rahul, Iyer and Kohli did not let any one fill the absence of Rohit. Yet New Zealand out batted India. Their batsmen took out the sings of Indian bowling. Bumrah lost his bite becoming ineffective. India failed to win even after posting 347 [ ( Iyer (103), Rahul (88*) and Kohli (51) ] in the first ODI as Nichols (78) , Latham ( 68) and Taylor (109) rallied New Zealand to milestone setting win. Indian required Plan B at that stage reassessing their bowling resources. Unfortunately Thakur and Saini were not of the class to trouble quality New Zealand batsman to cover for suddenly turned toothless Bumrah.
New Zealand scored 273/8 in the second ODI as Guptill (79) , Taylor (73) and Nichols ( 41 ) were major contributors. Again Bumrah, the tramp card of Indian bowling had an off day in the office. India with a strong batting line up was expected to overhaul the target. But on this day Black caps turned up with a great team bowling. All their bowlers Tim Southee (2/41), debutant Kyle Jammison (2/42), Clin de Grandhomme (2/51) and Hamish Bernett (2/58) clinically executed their plan. India despite a good innings of Iyer (51) and brave batting of Jadeja (55) and Saini (45) could reach only 251 all out. Kiwis wrapped up the series with a match to spare.
India played for pride the third match. But New Zealand getting the formula of rocking India were beaming with confidence. India riding on a brilliant 112 of Rahul , 62 from Iyer and two useful innings of 42 and 40 of Manish Pandey and Parthiv Shaw posted challenging 296/7. New Zealand was so organized and confident that they cruised to the target scoring 300/5 in 47.2 overs. Martin Guptill (66) and Henry Nicholls (80) led the show Collin de Grandhomme blasted the Indians with an unbeaten 58 in 28 deliveries. Again Indian pacers struggled, again Bumrah remained wicketless and was collared.
It is a sad commentary that such a strong Indian contingent suffered a series white wash. Their top guns Bumrah could not get a single wicket in the entire series, a very unlikely outcome. The other pacers also struggled. Virat Kohli the number one batsman of the world apart from the first match could do nothing. Though youngsters Iyer and Rahul performed. But New Zealand as a team outplayed India in all departments of the game.
For India it must be a time to reassess. In Under 19 World Cup Bangladesh overwhelmed them catching them off guard. In ODI series New Zealand Blackwashed them. Team India lost its status of impregnable side in all format. After all Kohli and Bumrah are also human being.
CONGRATULATION NEW ZEALAND FOR TURNING THE TIDE SO BRILLIANTLY. Great that they did not loose composure losing T20 series 0-5 and losing two matches in the super overs.
BDST: 1332 HRS, FEB 12, 2020