With both teams facing a heavy loss in their opening game against Pakistan, India and New Zealand faced each other in match 28 of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The match had the fate of both teams on the line with respect to their qualification for the Semi-Final spot, but it was New Zealand who came out on top after thrashing India by eight wickets.
After winning the toss, New Zealand made one change to their side, bringing in the extra pace of Adam Milne in place of wicket-keeper Tim Seifert. India made two changes, with Ishan Kishan replacing injured Surya Kumar Yadav and Shardul Thakur replacing Bhuvaneshwar Kumar. With a forced change coming in, India also altered their batting order as Kishan replaced Rohit Sharma at the top with captain Virat Kohli moving down the order at number four, a move that later backfired.
Ace pacers Trent Boult and Tim Southee started the innings by keeping the ball in and around the fourth to fifth stump line on a good length, not giving any width for the batters to work around. With the white Kookaburra ball swinging for the first two overs, NZ bowlers made the most of it by keeping things tight. In the first three overs, Boult and Southee bowled 12 dot balls (66.67%), picking up a wicket along with creating two wicket-taking opportunities. And then came the NZ spinners.
NZ spinners spun a web
With eight overs of spin between Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi, the pair conceded just 32 runs, with Sodhi picking up two big wickets of Sharma and Kohli. The spin duo bowled a whopping 20 dot balls between them (41.67%), completely quashing hopes of an Indian comeback. The key to their success was their accuracy, bowling just short of the good length, on and around the fourth to fifth stump line.
So tight was the bowling, which was also aided by a two-paced pitch, that the Indian batters managed to score only 40 runs in the ten overs between overs 6-16, playing out 25 dot balls and losing three wickets in the process. Sodhi and Santner bowled seven of these ten overs. Not a single boundary was conceded in this phase.
With some help from Ravindra Jadeja, who was India’s highest scorer with 26 runs off 19 balls, India finally crossed the 100-run mark in the last over of the innings and ended with a paltry score of 110 with the loss of seven wickets. Boult, who was exceptional at the start and the end, finished with figures of 3/20 off his four overs.
NZ cruised towards the target
With a modest target to defend, India needed quick wickets in the powerplay, but they ran into Martin Guptill and Daryl Mitchell. The duo scored quick runs to eliminate any risk of troubles during the chase. Despite Guptill falling in the fourth over, Mitchell ensured there were no further inroads, as the opener smashed 49 runs off just 35 balls with four Fours and three sixes. Any hopes of India pulling off a miracle were smashed by NZ when they ended the powerplay strongly at 44/1 after scoring 14 runs off Jadeja’s first over.
With Williamson alongside him, who himself anchored with a 31-ball 33, Mitchell added 72 runs for the second wicket and fell just before NZ closed down the chase with 33 balls to spare. Jasprit Bumrah was the sole player from India who looked like he turned up for a contest, picking both the NZ wickets and also bowling 15 dot balls in his four overs. With two heavy defeats in their first two games, India finds itself at number five on the points table, two places below New Zealand, who now move up to number three.