By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Jan 19, 2014
A late surge powered New Zealand to 292 for seven in the first One-Day International (ODI) against India at Napier. There were two contrasting approaches on show during the innings which ultimately helped them put up their eventual total: while the top-order setup the platform after a few quick wickets, the lower order built on that and propelled New Zealand in the slog overs.
In sunny conditions at McLean Park, Napier, Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and chose to bowl. India went into the game with an expected combination; the set top seven, with Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami forming the pace attack.
Early in the innings, Jesse Ryder threatened to take charge. He has fancied the Indian bowling in the past and when he literally swatted Bhuvneshwar over square-leg for six, one felt he would get going. Later, Shami was welcomed with a similar shot for four and was then carted through extra-cover with all power. But, Ryder’s lack of footwork got the better of him as Shami bowled him through the gate with one that held its line.
Martin Guptill had a stellar time early in 2013, but since that innings of 186 not out, his form has dropped. He lasted 23 balls in the centre and in an attempt to force the issue, he edged one to Ravichandran Ashwin to first-slip.
It was then that Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson came together. They took their time, surveyed the conditions early on and attacked only when there was an opportunity. Williamson was a delight to watch as he eased into his strokes and held his balance at the crease.
There was a mix of caution and aggression from the two batsmen. Taylor’s innings was uncharacteristic. In his innings of 55, he struck only one four. It was that patience that helped New Zealand recover and Williamson was the more aggressive of the two.
The 131-run stand finally came to an end in the 33rd over when Williamson spooned a catch to cover off Ravindra Jadeja. Taylor fell soon after his fifty as he chased one off Shami and was caught by Dhoni, which was the wicketkeeper’s 300th dismissal in ODIs.
At 171 for four in the 37th over, the platform had been laid for the Brendon McCullum, Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi to smash it around. And didn’t they do it in some style!
While McCullum was dismissed for a quick 30, Ronchi and Anderson tormented the Indian bowlers. If Anderson’s fastest ODI ton wasn’t enough for him to get an IPL contract, his exhibition on Sunday would make a real impression given the fact that the talent scouts may have been glued to the screens.
Anderson can hit it a mile with all brute strength. Ishant stuck to his typical back-of-a-length approach and was punished as Anderson carted him on the roof at square-leg. Shami was also dispatched over mid-wicket for an even bigger six.
Watching Anderson smash it an one end, a batsman of Ronchi’s nature wasn’t going to keep quiet. Targetting the short square boundaries, Rochi was on his knees to Jadeja and peppered the mid-wicket stands with two maximums.
Anderson got to his fifty off only 31 balls and his cricketing stakes are certainly on the rise. Rochi too did his reputation no harm, although, one may say he played second fiddle to the budding star. And, he kept smashing it around as Ishant was nonchalantly carted over mid-wicket for another maximum. Ishant did get one back though when he dismissed Ronchi. Anderson did not get much strike at the fag end, otherwise, New Zealand could well have had more. Anderson finished on 68 off 40 balls.
As far as the Indian bowling is concerned, Bhuvneshwar was the pick of the bowlers. He bowled in the right channels and accounted for the wicket of McCullum. Ishant struggled yet again, with the spinners also finding it tough to contain the batsmen. Shami was amongst the wickets and did get his four-for when he dismissed Nathan McCullum in the penultimate over.
New Zealand 292 for 7 in 50 overs (Kane Williamson 71, Ross Taylor 55, Corey Anderson 68*; Mohammed Shami 4 for 55) vs India
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