Boom! What a start of the ICC WORLD Twenty20 2016. The first ball went for a huge six over side screen followed with a wicket on the next delivery. The crowd present at VCA stadium, Nagpur expected it to be a cracker of a contest between two evenly matched sides India and New Zealand. But as the match ended, an unexpected result was waiting for all, the hosts and the favourites to win the cup, India was humbled by a huge margin of 47 runs from the spirited Kiwi side. In this article, we have listed down some hits and misses from the game:
Magician Santner marked his arrival on the big stage in style __
The hype around New Zealand all-rounder Mitchell Santner proved out to be no fluke, the young Kiwi was right on the mark from the word go. He weaved a web of quality spin bowling against the top Indian batsman and bamboozled them with his good variations and sharp turn. He finished the match with outstanding figures of 4 overs-11 runs-4 wickets. Earlier, he also played a vital knock of 18 runs with the bat. Santner was awarded the Man of the Match award for his brilliant performance against a big batting line-up like India.
Ish Sodhi’s brilliance and McCullum’s experience done it for New Zealand __
Nobody would have understood Williamson’s strategy of dropping his two premium pacers Southee and Boult out of the eleven in the Super 10 opener against India. But, as the match progressed, this proved out to be a masterstroke from the Kiwi skipper, his fielded three specialist spinner – Santner, Sodhi, McCullum in the squad. All of them shared nine wickets out of ten among them and never really allowed any Indian batsman to found a foothold on the Nagpur pitch.
Nathan McCullum opened the floodgates in the very first over when he dismissed Shikhar Dhawan at the score of 1, the opener played a reckless sweep shot on a turning ball and was struck on the pads. The young Ish Sodhi also contributed well with the ball. On his very first ball of the first over, Sodhi removed the kingpin of Indian batting line-up Virat Kohli who look settled at the crease at the score of 23. He ended his spell with great figures of 4 overs-18 runs-3 wickets.
Corey Anderson’s anchor role and Ronchi’s cameo __
On a vicious turning track like Jamtha, Nagpur, the New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson played the role of a sheet anchor to keep the team in the hunt while the chips are down. He played a fighting knock of 34 before missing a scoop off Bumrah’s straight as arrow Yorker. Anderson knitted crucial partnerships for the Black Caps with Ross Taylor and Mitchell Santner before getting out. The New Zealand wicket-keeper Luke Ronchi also played a handy cameo of 21 off just 11 deliveries which lifted the Kiwi total beyond the run rate of six-an-over. He scored 12 runs off last 3 deliveries of the NZ innings against Indian pacer Ashish Nehra.
Dhoni misread the Nagpur track__
Probably, the biggest miss of the game is made by the Indian captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni who completely misjudged the VCA, Nagpur track. The Indian skipper included three seamers in the squad – Nehra, Bumrah, and Pandya. Instead of playing with a full-time specialist spinner like Harbhajan Singh, the captain cool missed a trick or two by fielding the unchanged side of the Asia Cup final. At no point, the Nagpur pitch looked like a T20 wicket, the pitch turned yards and didn’t allow any batsman to score freely. On the contrary, the opposition skipper, Kane Williamson played with three specialist spinners, the move turned out to be a masterstroke at the end of the match from the young Kiwi.
Lack of application by Indian batsman__
One should agree to the fact that; India are no more the best spin playing side in the world. They have proved it time and again in all three formats of cricket. Williamson and Co. exposed India’s weakness of handling quality spin on a huge turning track like Jamtha. The stalwarts in the Indian batting line-up looked in a hurry to finish the game and played some really silly shots to get out. No batsman apart from Kohli and captain Dhoni tried to play himself in on a challenging wicket like this. Rohit, Dhawan, Raina, Yuvraj and Jadeja couldn’t even touch the double figures with the bat.
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