Wellington: Jan 29, 2013
New Zealand‘s crushing One-Day International (ODI) series victory over India represents a timely win for the underdog as cricket’s superpowers move to seize control of the world game, New Zealand media said Wednesday.
The Black Caps defeated India by seven wickets in Hamilton on Tuesday, sealing the five-match series with a game to spare after a string of lacklustre performances from the tourists.
The New Zealand Herald said the result showed the value of the so-called “minnow” nations, amid fears they will miss out if the wealthy trio of India, England and Australia succeed in a plan to tighten their grip on the world game.
“It’s a victory it’s hoped will resonate as much with the Indian board and a global game in crisis, as it will with local fans,” the daily said.
Fairfax New Zealand echoed the sentiment saying the Black Caps’ win was a triumph “for the little guys of world cricket”.
“As India sought to strengthen their already dominant position as cricket’s leviathan, minnows New Zealand sent a timely reminder that the underdogs shouldn’t be overlooked… [they] struck an on-field blow for those countries expected to be handicapped by the proposal’s plans,” it said.
India, the reigning world champions, arrived in New Zealand sitting at No 1 in the ODI rankings and were expected to steamroll the eighth-ranked Black Caps.
Instead, the New Zealanders have claimed three convincing victories under pugnacious skipper Brendon McCullum, with India’s best performance coming when they salvaged a dramatic tie in the third match of the series.
As a result, India have slipped to No 2 in the rankings behind Australia, while New Zealand have moved up a place to seventh.
Former New Zealand wicketkeeper Warren Lees said the Black Caps, who have been notoriously inconsistent in recent years, had grown in confidence as the series progressed.
“I don’t think India are playing their best cricket but they never do when they’re away from home,” he told Radio New Zealand.
“All the credit must go to the New Zealand team… they’re stringing one or two good games together and our senior players are starting to perform consistently.”
India will look to save face in the fifth and final ODI in Wellington on Friday, ahead of two Test matches next month.
Also on cricketcountry.com