Saturday 28 January 2023 | Written by Rahul Patil | Published in Cricket, Sports
Washington Sundar came in to bowl the third over in New Zealand’s innings and his first ball turned square. It immediately reminded me of a game played between the two sides in the 2016 T20 world cup. On that occasion batting first New Zealand somehow managed to get to 126 in their 20 overs. What followed though was unbelievable. Their spin trio of Nathan McCullum, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi out bowled their Indian counterparts and spun out the Indians for just 79. That game was probably the start of the end of the myth that Indians are good players of spin. Seven years later the Indian batters are still struggling against quality spin on a turning track.
Anticipating dew India elected to bowl first. The pendulum kept swinging from one side to another. Finn Allen and Devon Conway got the Black Caps off to a flyer. India struck back with two quick wickets. Conway then had two useful partnerships with Glenn Phillips and Daryl Mitchell for the third and fourth wicket respectively. Once Conway departed India once again pulled things back until the last over where Daryl Mitchell got stuck into Arshdeep Singh and took him for 27. The Black Caps finished on a very healthy 176 on a tricky surface.
I hope someone puts an arm around Arshdeep Singh as his young shoulders must be feeling the pressure. From dropping a crucial catch against Pakistan in the Asia Cup to his issues with wide’s and no balls. Nothing seems to be going right for him. One feels that he is at a delicate time in his career. And if he isn’t handled with care India risk losing out on a talented youngster.
India’s run chase started in disastrous fashion – 15 for 3 in the fourth over is not what you need chasing 176. Then captain Hardik Pandya along with the best T20 player in the world Suryakumar Yadav kept India in the hunt adding 62 for the 4th wicket. But once they both departed in quick succession the writing was on the wall. Sundar once again presented his all-round credentials with a quick fire 50 of 28 balls but it was never going to be enough and in the end India fell short by 21 runs.
In an 8 runs per over run chase Santner sucked the life out of the Indian innings with figures of 4-1-11-2. It included a maiden over bowled to Yadav (the recipient of the ICC male T20 player of the year 2022 award) in the power play. If you can do that you are a bloody good bowler for sure.
After the whitewash in the ODI series, a win was just what the Black Caps needed. They take the lead in the three match series. The action now moves from Ranchi to Lucknow for game two on Sunday night (India time).