T20 World Cup: India fail New Zealand bowling masterclass


DUBAI: Trent Boult led an inspired bowling attack as New Zealand cruised to an eight-wicket victory over India Sunday, dimming the Men in Blue’s prospects to reach the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup.

Boult and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi shared five wickets between them to restrict India to 110 for seven after being invited to bat first in the Super 12 clash in Dubai.

Skipper Kane Williamson and Daryl Mitchell, who made 49, put 72 runs for the second wicket as the Kiwis romped home in 14.3 overs and hand India their second straight loss of the tournament.

Jasprit Bumrah denied Mitchell his maiden fifty but the wicket proved a minor blemish for the Kiwis, who bounced back from their opening loss to group toppers Pakistan.

India, who lost their first Super 12 match to Pakistan by 10 wickets, remain in danger of slipping out of the race for the semi-finals.

“I don´t think we were brave enough with bat or ball,” said Kohli.

“We didn´t have much to defend but we weren´t brave when we walked out to field. When you play for the Indian cricket team you have a lot of expectations – not just from fans, but players as well.

“So there´s always going to be more pressure with our games and we´ve embraced it over the years.”

Williamson hailed his team as they collected their first win.

“A fantastic all-round performance from us against a formidable India side,” he said.

“We were able to build pressure throughout and the way the openers came out really set the platform.”

Boult dismissed Ishan Kishan for four and nearly had Rohit Sharma on the next ball but Adam Milne dropped an easy catch at fine leg.

Milne, who replaced Tim Seifert as the only change in the New Zealand team from their opening loss to Pakistan, then gave away 15 runs from his first over with Sharma hitting the fast bowler for a four and a six.

But the New Zealand pace bowlers kept coming at the Indian batsmen as Tim Southee got KL Rahul walking back for 18 with another pull shot that found the fielder.

Sharma fell to Sodhi for 14, this time giving away a catch to long-on where Guptill made no mistake.

Sodhi dismissed Kohli for nine after the captain mistimed a shot to be caught at long on and walked back to stunned silence at a stadium packed with Indian fans.

Hardik Pandya, who made 23, and Ravindra Jadeja, 26 not out, put up some resistence with a partnership of 24 that was broken by Boult who struck twice in his final over.

Mohammed Shami, the only Muslim player in the India team, walked in to loud cheers after being mercilessly trolled following the 10-wicket defeat to Pakistan.

Jadeja hit two fours and one six in his 19-ball stay.

In reply, Martin Guptill started on an attacking note to smash three boundaries before falling to Bumrah who returned figures of 2-19.

Mitchell took on the Indian bowlers as he hit left-arm spinner Jadeja for a six and then got another shot over the fence to bring up New Zealand´s fifty in the seventh over.

He departed with New Zealand needing 15 and Devon Conway joined Williamson to complete the formalities.

Indian cricket fans will undergo the same feeling that usually a Pakistani fan feels when they’ll be keenly depending on the results of other teams in Group 2 of the ICC T20 World Cup, so that Kohli XI could stand a chance to qualify for the next stage of the mega event. 

India is at the bottom of the table with Scotland after losing to Pakistan and New Zealand in the first two games. Kohli’s team is set to play three lower-ranked teams in the days to come.

India, with an NRR of -1.609, is currently not only eyeing to improve its run rate by winning its remaining three matches but also hopes for some upsets against New Zealand, and probably Pakistan as well.

The table in India’s group is led by Pakistan with 3 wins in as many games while Afghanistan has won two matches in their three games. New Zealand and Namibia, on the other hand, have one win in two games apiece.

Pakistan next plays Namibia and Scotland and it is highly unlikely that either of them will stop the Babar Azam-led squad’s unbeaten run in the event. 

If any team India would want to upset Pakistan, it should be Scotland. Pakistan need only one more win to cement their place in the semi final of the tournament.

India next plays Afghanistan on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, which will be a must-win game for them. If Afghanistan manages to stun India, then Kohli’s side will be knocked out.

To stay alive in tournament, India must  not only win, but win the Afghanistan clash by a convincing margin, to improve its NRR and dent Afghanistan’s NRR, which is currently at +3.754.

Before taking on Afghanistan, India will also keenly follow the New Zealand vs Scotland game. While New Zealand will enter the game as clear favorites, Indian will still hope for an upset by Scotland against the Kiwis.

In an unlikely event of Scotland beating New Zealand, the Indians will feel some energy but they’ll have to beat Scotland on Friday to keep their race alive. Before India’s match against Scotland, New Zealand will play Namibia. The Kiwis will be the favorite team to win that match.

Hence, if Scotland beats New Zealand, New Zealand beats Namibia and India beats both Scotland and Afghanistan, then India, New Zealand and Afghanistan will have four points each.

If New Zealand beats Scotland, Namibia beats New Zealand and India wins against Afghanistan and Scotland, then New Zealand, Namibia, Afghanistan and India will be tied with four points each [assuming that Pakistan will beat Namibia on Tuesday].

In either scenario, India will be keenly watching the Afghanistan vs New Zealand game. Any team winning that match will then have 6 points on table. India is schedule to play its last game against Namibia on November 8, it will then know what NRR it will need to achieve in that match.

Seeing Afghanistan’s mammoth NRR of +3.097, India wouldn’t want to tie with Afghanistan on points and would rather want the Afghan side to lose against New Zealand as well. For them, overcoming New Zealand’s NRR would be easier, which is currently at +0765.

India’s NRR currently is -1.609, which means Kohli’s side will really have to work hard to push themselves up to become one of the two top teams of the tournament, and along with putting in some serious hard work, also hope for Namibia and Scotland to pull off some upsets. 

Otherwise the only option they would be left with would be to consider which flight they need to board to head back home. 

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