Lessons for punters to learn from the India vs New Zealand T20I match on Oct 31, 2021
The 31st of October indeed turned out to be a decisive day for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 fortunes for India and New Zealand alike, as the Ind vs NZ match saw the glorious victory of the latter. The win led New Zealand to the third position in Group 2 (behind Pakistan and Afghanistan), while India came down to the fifth position in the standings, one spot below Namibia!
Let’s look at the players list from the two teams for the India Vs New Zealand match:
India Playing XI: Ishan Kishan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli(c), Rishabh Pant(w), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Varun Chakaravarthy, Jasprit Bumrah
New Zealand Playing XI: Martin Guptill, Daryl Mitchell, Kane Williamson(c), James Neesham, Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips(w), Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Adam Milne, Trent Boult, Tim Southee
While India is out of the semi-finals race, the eight-wicket win for New Zealand in Dubai was a crushing defeat for Team India, driving them to the brink of elimination. This was their second crushing defeat after losing to arch-rivals Pakistan at the same venue.
An Overview of the Ind Vs NZ Match
The Super 12 match held on Sunday witnessed a timid Indian team managing only a below-par 110/7 in this vital match, while New Zealand chased down a meagre target of 111 with 33 balls to spare. If you followed the Ind Vs NZ live match, you’d know that opener Daryl Mitchell emerged as the top scorer for New Zealand with 49 off 35 balls, while skipper Kane Williamson made a mark with an unbeaten 33, in only 14.3 overs. This was preceded by India managing 110 for 7 in 20 overs, out of which they did not effectively score runs in 9. What’s worse, they hit only a single boundary between overs 8 and 15.
Indian cricket fans were left heartbroken as the team kept losing wickets at regular intervals and could hardly match up to the Kiwi attack. Leg-break bowler Ish Sodhi and left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner did complete justice to their respective quota of four overs each, returning brilliant figures of 2/17 and 0/15.
How the Biggies of the Cricket Community Reacted
Having been champions of the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, Team India has not managed to lift the coveted trophy ever since, and this time, the team suffered a major collapse in its batting performance, drawing scathing criticism. Here’s how some of the stalwarts of the cricket fraternity reacted, questioning the tactics, intent, and techniques of the batting line-up of Team India in the Ind Vz NZ match.
Former cricketer Virender Sehwag tweeted that Ind Vs NZ live match was hugely disappointing, as India showed very poor shot selection. He further added that the fact that New Zealand has almost left no room for India to reach the semifinals, is going to hurt India, and that it needs close introspection.
Gautam Gambhir expressed that while India played skillfully enough, it fell short of “mental toughness”. Former middle-order batsman VVS Laxman also shared his opinion that India was tentative with the bat, and their shot selection was questionable. He also appreciated New Zealand’s bowling performance, adding that India made their task easier.
Michael Vaughan, former England captain believes that India is still playing 2010 cricket, which explains why they have been major under-achievers for years in white-ball cricket even though the team is rich in talent and depth. According to him, the game has moved on, but India has failed to keep up with it.
Irfan Pathan was of the opinion that changing the playing 11 in one game is bound to take a toll on the team’s performance. He felt this decision did not bode well for the team, as players need stability. For the uninitiated, viewers and punters were in for a big surprise when Rohit Shamra did not open the batting. After Virat Kohli lost the toss and Kane Williamson opted to field, many eyebrows were raised when Ishan Kishan and KL Rahul walked out to open the innings for India. He did hit a couple of boundaries but never looked confident enough, during his 16-ball stay at the crease.
What Went Wrong For Team India?
In the previous match against Pakistan, Ishan Kishan had replaced Suryakumar Yadav, with the latter being ruled out due to a back spasm, Shardul Thakur was chosen to step into the shoes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Rohit Sharma has carved out a niche for himself as a bankable opener for India irrespective of the format, having opened 79 times in 104 innings for India in T20I cricket. Besides, he has also scored more than 2300 runs out of the total 2864 runs he had in the shortest format of the game before the match against Pakistan in this tournament.
Interestingly enough, the last time Rohit did not open the batting for India in T20Is was in February 2020, in a match against New Zealand only, where Rohit scored a fifty. Murali Karthik, former India spinner, expressed his surprise, while speaking on air for the official broadcasters, at Rohit not opening the batting for India in the India vs New Zealand match. He stated that Sharma has established a strong presence as a white-ball player. While KL Rahul has been in good form of late, probably it would have been in the best interest of the team to have him bat at no. 4. If you follow cricket closely, you’d know that Rahul has batted at no.4 in the past and usually bats in the middle for the Indian ODI team as well. Cricket fans across the country were in for a huge disappointment while watching Ind Vz NZ live score, as this move failed miserably, with the young wicketkeeper-batsman falling to Ishan Kishan in the third over bowled by Trent Boult.
The hammering defeat can majorly be attributed to the Indian batting as the star-studded line-up only offered poor shot selection while Kiwi fielders got ample catching practice. If we don’t take into account Ravindra Jadeja’s and Hardik Pandya’s 20-odd innings, there’s hardly anything left that’s worth mentioning about the Indian innings. Trent Boult was a formidable force for the Kiwis while Ish Sodhi bagged two wickets including that of Virat Kohli for only 9 runs. The Ind Vs NZ live match was arguably Kohli’s most defining test of his captaincy career, but much to our dismay, his men in blue failed to rise up from the proverbial ashes while taking on a street-smart New Zealand. The do-or-die India vs New Zealand match ended up denting India’s semi-finals hopes.
Will India’s Defeat Have Far-Reaching Consequences?
While on one hand, India was pummelled to a perilous position with regard to the ICC T20 World Cup 2021, on the other hand, the Ind vs NZ match also raised questions about Kohli’s failure to win an ICC tournament in four attempts as captain. Besides making it likely that he will step down from T20 captaincy, this defeat has also put his ODI leadership future at stake. Before even the team could overcome the humiliating experience of the match against Pakistan, the encounter against New Zealand was embarrassing, which is an understatement.
Now it only remains to be seen which teams would win the race to the finals, as punters have been speculating of late, that New Zealand unveiled the inadequacies, unfit mindset, and atrocious shot selection of the men in blue. To add insult to injury, these were exploited to the hilt by Pakistan just about a few days back.
Looks like the fearless cricket that India had come to be known for, has gone into oblivion. The New Zealand team got a catching practice of sorts, with the Indian batsman struggling to force the pace and falling flat on its face (well, not literally, but you know what we mean, right?). The fact that there were 54 odd balls suggests that India did not score any runs in nine out of 20 overs, which is blasphemous!
A Lesson for Punters Indeed!
The shoddy show came as a rude shock to fans and punters alike, which was led by poor team selection, not counting on form players, and the dearth of flexibility on the side, which could have probably done better with a fair share of multi-skilled players. No wonder the team fell apart, proving Murphy’s law, that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong at the worst possible time”. This was true for our team that day, with both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli losing form simultaneously, the middle-order remaining worrisome, and Hardik Pandya proving to be a complete flop.
Punters were left disgruntled by the Ind Vs NZ live score as it revealed how a team, known for its masters of spin bowling, came out utterly clueless. Just like we saw in the match against Pakistan, New Zealand spinners such as left-arm orthodox Mitchell Santner and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi gave Team India a really hard time, allowing only 32 runs in eight overs. Tweaking the batting order did no good for India, as the power play hardly had anything to offer and 40 for 3 in eight overs was nothing short of a disaster. Kohli had a laboured presence at the wicket, which only mounted the pressure on the team. Likewise, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, and Rishabh Pant, could do nothing to save the day. Once Pant was gone, all hopes of turning the India Vs New Zealand match around were dashed.
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