Here’s our report card for the first ODI between India and New Zealand at Napier which Virat Kohli’s side won by eight wickets.
India began their New Zealand series with a massive win at Napier in the first ODI, bowling out the hosts for a measly 157 and chasing down the target in less than 35 overs with eight wickets in hand. Opting to bat first, the Kiwis were pegged back by Mohammed Shami early on and later the spin twins shared six wickets among them to decimate the hosts.
Here’s our report card from the first ODI at Napier.
Shami was the chief architect behind New Zealand’s collapse on Wednesday, dismissing their openers early with extravagant seam movement and striking again later in his second spell to remove Mitchell Santner just as the Kiwis were looking to climb out of the abyss. Shami’s burst allowed the Indian spinners to have a go at the middle-order early on. After a long absence from the white-ball cricket, Shami is quickly turning out to be the X factor for India with the ball.
Dhawan had not cross the fifty-run mark in ODIs since his ton against Pakistan in the Asia Cup in Dubai before the Napier ODI but scored 75 not out off 103 balls in the first match of the series. He kept throwing away his wicket despite getting good starts in the Windies and Australia ODI series and needed a confidence-booster early on in the New Zealand series. With a low target, Dhawan got into groove early and completed a comfortable half-century, playing a risk-free innings.
If Yuzvendra Chahal started the collapse, Kuldeep carried it forward by dismissing Kane Williamson and Doug Bracewell in the same over and ensuring that New Zealand would not be able to reach a total of respectability. Kuldeep finished with figures of 4/39 and ran through the tail yet again.
Williamson was described as New Zealand’s player to watch out for by Virat Kohli and his judgement proved to be just perfect when the much acclaimed Kiwi skipper steadied the innings after the top-order collapse. Williamson was calculative with his stroke play and batted as per the demands of the match situation. He was dismissed by Kuldeep with the batsman playing an uncharacteristic shot, looking to up the ante, given the circumstances. Williamson scored 64 off 81 balls.
Chahal varied his pace effectively on a wicket where the ball was stopping and ensured the Kiwi batsmen were always cautious coming down the pitch against him. By shortening his length and flighting the ball more, he forced Ross Taylor and Tom Latham – two of New Zealand’s best players of spin – to give a catch back to him. Chahal, after a superb six-fer against Australia in the series decider, was clever with his variations on the Napier wicket, although in the end he was yet again overshadowed by Kuldeep.
Kohli was in sublime form and made the Kiwis pay with some pristine shots early on in his innings. He mostly played second-fiddle to Dhawan and was also once saved by DRS after he was wrongly adjudged LBW by the on field umpire. The chase master looked comfortable at Napier and with a low target in front of him, Kohli did not even had to step up his game. However, he lost his wicket before India reached the target.
Boult is New Zealand’s highest wicket-taker since the Champions Trophy but with the Kiwis needing early breakthroughs after a disastrous batting performance, the seamer failed to create enough chances. He was tidy with his lines and kept India’s openers silent in a four-over opening spell. He was brought back into the attack in search of wickets but India had the leeway to play him out safely given the low target.
A fringe player in the squad, Bracewell was picked over Colin de Grandhomme at Napier and justified the call in a spell where he moved the ball around and sent back Rohit Sharma. Bracewell was unlucky to not add Dhawan’s wicket as Latham dropped a catch. He also showed good intent with the bat in a recent T20I against Sri Lanka and it is these kind of all-round performances that the Kiwis seek from their lower-order.