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India thrash Black Caps, lead series 2-0

Monday 23 January 2023 | Written by Rahul Patil | Published in Cricket, Sports


India thrash Black Caps, lead series 2-0
Tom Latham is all smiles as Rohit Sharma tries to recall what he wanted to do after winning the toss. Picture courtesy of BCCI/23012321

India vs New Zealand – ODI Series – 2nd ODI. New Zealand – 108 all out in 34.3 overs (Phillips 36, Shami 3/18, Pandya 2/16) lost to India 111 for 2 in 20.1 overs (Rohit 51, Gill 40*, Shipley 1/29) by 8 wickets with 179 balls remaining.

I have seen a lot of cricket in my life but never before have I seen a captain forget what he wanted to do on winning the toss. Rohit Sharma won the toss and had a brain fade for about 13 seconds before he finally remembered that India wanted to bowl first in the second ODI series match against New Zealand over the weekend. It was another feather in the cap of the Indian skipper who is well known for his laidback personality. It provided the best entertainment on a day where the on field contest was horribly one sided.

Asked to bat first on a fresh and slightly tacky wicket New Zealand were bundled out for 108 in the 35th over. The ball was doing a bit and all the Indian bowlers were in good rhythm but all said and done it wasn’t a 108 all out pitch under any circumstances.

The problem is that white ball cricketers are so used to batting on flat decks and hitting through the line that once in a while when a surface helps the bowlers a bit, they don’t seem to be able to adapt. I don’t think it is a technique problem as four of New Zealand’s top six also play test cricket where their techniques are tested more regularly. It seems more like a mindset problem along with a failure to read the surface and reassess the target. This wasn’t a 350 kind of surface so New Zealand would have been better off aiming for 250 to 275 and playing accordingly.

Take nothing from all the Indian bowlers though who read the pitch perfectly and relentlessly kept putting the ball in the right areas. I have previously said that India has a problem of plenty and it is true with regards to the bowlers too. Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Hardik Pandya, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav and Washington Sundar are a formidable attack but one has to remember that Umran Malik, Yuzvendra Chahal and Shahbaz Ahmed are in the squad as well. Axar Patel has taken leave for this series. Ravi Bishnoi is waiting in the wings. India also has a number of bowlers recovering from injuries like Jasprit Bumrah, Deepak Chahar, Ravindra Jadeja and Prasidh Krishna.

108 was never going to challenge the strong Indian batting line up and living up to their reputation they got to the target in a hurry. He might have had a brain fade at the toss but there were no brain fades for Rohit Sharma with the bat. When he gets runs, they are always elegant and his 51 was studded with some extremely attractive strokes.

The 65,000 fans in Raipur were happy to see an Indian win but would have liked to see a better contest. India took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series which now moves to Indore for the final ODI. It will be a great chance for India to test their bench strength whereas New Zealand would love to finish the series on a winning note.