New Zealand hammered a depleted Indian side by 8 wickets, with 200+ deliveries to spare in the fourth ODI at Hamilton. However, the win will only serve as a consolation prize for the Kiwis, who can at best hope to end the series 2 – 3 in favor of India.
One might argue that the dead rubber syndrome has some part to play in the loss, but the manner of defeat must be very humiliating for the Indian team. Rohit Sharma summed up the loss as the worst batting performance that he has seen in the recent times. That should tell you the hurt that the Indian team felt. There was no display of false bravado of this being a dead rubber etc. This was a humiliation!
Coming to the match, let us look at
What worked and What didn’t?
What can one say about a batting effort, when Chahal tops the run scorer’s list. At the start of the match, the pitch and the overhead conditions did not portend this kind of a calamity. How terrible the team batted against the swinging ball?
The shot selection of the batsmen against the moving ball was quite ordinary. None of them, barring Pandya, looked switched on for this contest. No effort was made by the batsmen to play close to the body. Those caught and bowled to Boult are prime examples of playing too soon and not close to the body (Under the nose, as it were).
While donning the national colors, dead rubber syndrome is unpardonable. This was not a 92 all out pitch by any stretch.
I am guessing, the private jet that is carrying Virat and Anushka back home, would have received a SOS to turn back. Or at least a collective prayer would have been sent in that direction.
The New Zealand batsmen played without any pressure. Their game plan showed that there were no demons on the pitch.
If Bumrah and Shami had been playing, they could have made a match out of even this low a score. But given that Bhuvi was the lone ranger, the improbable task became impossible.
If you give Trent Boult conditions that favor swing bowling, more often than not, he will run through the batting unit. He has pace and he can swing the ball back into the right hander beautifully. The number of caught and bowled dismissals that Boult has in his career is a testament to this ability to bend the ball back. His inswingers seem to grip the pitch, hold up a little and then move back in. The batsmen are invariably early into their shot and play the ball back to him to be caught and bowled. Batters will want to play him close to their body, under the nose.
New Zealand’s other bowler, Colin De Grandhomme, was ‘on the money’ as well. The over in which he removed both Rayudu and DK, tore the heart out of the Indian middle order.
All in all, in typical NZ conditions, their bowling unit showed why they are highly rated by everyone. They will be a force to reckon with in the English conditions, which could be similar to NZ, during the World Cup. This is one of the reasons why many felt that this India vs NZ series will showcase India’s readiness for the World Cup. After watching this match, I guess, there is much work left to be done by the Indian batting unit.
The Kiwi batsmen played without any scorecard pressure and romped home to a 8 wicket win. 93 is such a low total to chase, that there is only a little that can be written about the quality of the batting. The Kiwis played their usual shot-a-ball game and score the required runs in haste.
One has seen some fabulous low scoring matches before, but this Indian bowling unit did not have Bumrah or Shami to cause any upsets. Ultimately, it was a walk in the park for the Kiwis.
New Zealand gave India a brutal lesson at Hamilton. They showed how ill-equipped Indian batsmen are to handle the swinging ball, particularly when they don’t have their premier batsmen. Indian middle order should work out a strategy on how to play in such conditions. They are likely to run into such conditions this summer in England.
I am afraid that most of the teams, particularly India, are going into the World Cup thinking that all the pitches will be batting oriented, 350+ wickets. The English team strategy has also been built under this premise. But, we all know that English weather is fickle. However flat the pitch is made to be, the overhead conditions cannot be controlled. India can end up with swing friendly overhead conditions in England, that too in a crucial game. So, they had better prepare for this situation and not go in based on the Champions trophy 2017 experience.
Finally, Well played New Zealand! I am hoping that India will come back chastened in the fifth game and give a competitive end to this series.
For the detailed scorecard of this match, please visit Cricinfo