T20 World Cup: India Fail to Fire Again, 8-Wicket Surrender to New Zealand
By: Riya Jha
New Zealand thrashed India by eight wickets at the Dubai International Stadium, handing the Men in Blue their second defeat in as many matches in the ongoing T20 World Cup. With the win, New Zealand extended its streak against India in the ICC tournament – undefeated since 2003.
Virat Kohli lost the toss again, and team India had to bat first on a spin-friendly pitch. Kohli said at the toss that his team would try and rectify the mistakes committed against Pakistan. But what followed was an amplification of the same problems as India lost wickets at regular intervals.
It was 35 for two during the power play, and the nine-over passage in the middle saw the team add just 38 for the loss of three wickets. India’s top order completely crumbled, yet again, as the team could manage a score of 110/7 in 20 overs in the face of some quality bowling by New Zealand.
Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya played 26 and 23 (not out) as no Indian batter crossed the 30-runs mark. Also, India’s bowling was below par as only Jasprit Bumrah could only pick a couple of wickets against the Kiwis.
New Zealand opener Daryl Mitchell, sensing the opportunity to improve the net run rate, went after the Indian bowlers. However, there was no effort to pressure the batters into making mistakes.
New Zealand got to 44/1 after six overs. Jasprit Bumrah sent Martin Guptill packing on 20, and just when India looked like putting on the brakes, Daryl Mitchell began to attack and find boundaries. After ten overs, NZ posted 83/1. Bumrah, in his final spell, outfoxed Mitchell with a slower delivery as he dismissed the Kiwi batter on 49 to deny him his maiden 50. However, skipper Kane Williamson helped the team win with eight wickets and 5.3 overs to spare.
Sodhi gave himself a birthday present with a man-of-the-match performance, picking Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma’s wickets. Daryl Mitchell (49), Trent Boult (3/20) were the top performers of the night.
In the post-match conference, Virat Kohli said of the loss: “It was quite bizarre. To be brutally honest, we weren’t brave enough with the bat or ball. When you play for the Indian cricket team, there will always be a lot of expectations. We have embraced that but not been able to cope with it in the last two games.”
Kane Williamson of the winning team said, “There’s always planning going into the game, but this was a great performance against a side that puts up a fight. The surface wasn’t easy to find the rhythm on, and the way the openers came out really set things up for the chase. It’s just about adapting to the conditions as well as we could.”
On TV punditry, former India captain Kapil Dev admitted he was surprised by Virat Kohli’s “We were not brave enough” statement. On the other hand, Gautam Gambhir has slammed the Virat Kohli led side, saying they have the skills but lack the much-needed mental toughness to win big knockout games in ICC tournaments. Disappointed fans, too, slammed the display against New Zealand by sharing memes.
Team India now have an outside chance of qualifying for the semis. They will have to win their remaining games and hope that the other results go in their favour.
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