Millennium Post

India’s T20 quest gets off to rocky start

Chasing New Zealand’s modest total of 126/7, India lose  nine wickets to New Zealand spin trio of Michael Santner (4/11), Ish Sodhi (3/18) and Nathan McCullum (2/15) and lose the World T20 opener by 47 runs here on Tuesday. 

Earlier, India produced a superb bowling and fielding display to contain New Zealand to a modest 126 for seven.

On a track that assisted slow bowling, all the Indian bowlers - barring Ravichandran Ashwin who went for 32 runs - shone in the all-round bowling performance to restrict the Kiwis in front of a jam-packed stadium in India’s second round Group 2 lung-opener.

The New Zealand batting was largely disappointing as they were unable to come to terms with the pitch and the home team’s bowling.

Corey Anderson (24 in 42 balls) held the innings together till the 16th over and then perished trying to up the tempo which was sagging far too much.Wicket keeper Luke Ronchi smashed 21 not out off 11 balls, inclusive of one six and two fours, and helped New Zealand get 15 runs in the final over, to push the score past 120.

For India, rookie medium pacer Jasprit Bumrah (1/15) was easily the most impressive bowler and also accounted for Anderson, while Ravindra Jadeja (1 for 26) and Suresh Raina (1 for 16) were also economical.

Ashish Nehra got 1 for 20 while Ashwin, who opened the bowling, too turned out to expensive but accounted for the wicket of opener Martin Guptill.

New Zealand, who opted to bat first after winning the toss, had come with a positive intent, and attacked Ashwin and upset the off-spinner’s rhythm from the first ball. They succeeded to a large extent although losing the wicket of Guptill in the process.

Guptill, known for his big-hitting, stunned the huge crowd by cloberring the first ball of the match from Ashwin over the straight-field for a six.

But Ashwin got his revenge in the next ball when he trapped Guptill leg before as the batsman went across for a slog-sweep.

The drama continued in the first over as new man Colin Munro smote the fourth ball with a switch-hit for a six as the off-spinner conceding 13 runs in the first over.

Nehra reduced the Kiwis to two for 13 when Munro spooned a drive to mid-off fielder Hardik Pandya.

While Ashwin proved expensive to concede 26 runs in his first three overs, Nehra was tight and Bumrah, playing in his first major ICC event, bowled a fine spell to keep the batsmen under a tight leash.

Dhoni sprang a surprise by introducing Suresh Raina in place of Ashwin and the move paid unexpected dividends. The part-time offie lured rival captain Kane Williamson out of the crease and had him stumped smartly by his Indian counterpart to leave New Zealand struggling at 35 for three in the seventh over.

At the half-way mark of their innings, New Zealand total was not looking healthy at 55 for three.

Raina produced a magical piece of fielding off his own bowling to pack off Ross for 10 with the total reading 61.

After 15 overs, New Zealand score read a poor 89 for four. To add to their woes, the Kiwis lost Anderson who, after being tied down by some tight wicket to wicket bowling, was cleaned up by Bumrah in the 16th over. In the final over, Ronchi struck a six and a four in the of Nehra to boost the total. 

Brief Scores: New Zealand: 126 for seven in 20 overs (Anderson 34; Bumrah 1/15, Raina 1/15). India: 79 all out in 18.1 overs (Dhoni 30; Mitchell Santner 4/11). 
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