New Zealand's win over India on Tuesday night was more than shocking © AFP
New Zealand’s win over India on Tuesday night was more than shocking © AFP

When Kane Williamson revealed New Zealand having jettisoned star bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult to accommodate three spinners against India in the T20 World Cup 2016 opener at Nagpur, many were left surprised. After all, New Zealand’s firepower in spin department has not been lethal enough to shoot down teams like India, but what transpired at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur in the first game of the Super-10 round of T20 World Cup 2016 was shocking for many. A defeat by 47 runs may take a lot out of India going ahead; it was worse than what they had even imagined going into this match and the tournament. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs New Zealand, ICC World T20 2016, Match 13 at Nagpur

There are no doubts in saying New Zealand read the pitch better than India, and Ravichandran Ashwin — who was hit for two sixes first up — was the worst spinner. Ashwin may have been a hunter the last time around when India played here (against South Africa in 2015, for example), but it was his team’s turn today to be annihilated and humiliated in the first game in the tournament. Ashwin generally dominates the best of the opposition on such wickets, but it was Mitchell Santner who walked away with a four-wicket haul and the Man of the Match award.

New Zealand are among the favourites to lift the title, but the way they tamed the red-hot favourites in their own backyard will not only serve a wake-up call to India but to everyone else. New Zealand’s approach was immaculate, starting with their reading of the pitch, their planning and its execution. ALSO READ: New Zealand spinners rip India apart by 47 runs in ICC World T20 2016, Match 13 at Nagpur

Santner got vicious turn, something that Ravindra Jadeja got some hint of during his spell. But little did India think that they will be beaten in their own game, in their own backyard and that too at the start of the tournament. India can only improve hereon, as the going will keep getting tougher and T20 cricket promises no respite, even to the best.

India will have tough questions to answer, but they will know that their batsmen let them down miserably. Too many soft dismissals proved costly and despite having a long batting line-up the team did not score more than 80 runs, even though they batted for 18.1 overs. India will be relieved at least the crossed their lowest-ever total of 74 in T20 Internationals.

The 47-run defeat to New Zealand will serve as a wake-up call to Dhoni and his men. They might have slaughtered the other Asian countries in the past few weeks and a second-string Australia, but this is a World Cup tournament and it carries no room for making mistakes. India made mistakes on too many fronts, and now they head into the game against Pakistan on Saturday with far too much at stake.

In a way, the defeat has also thrown the tournament wide open. A side not known for its spin bowling has out-mastered one that rules on these lanes riding on the exploits of their spinners. For those who are still working out on their plans, the first game of ICC World T20 2016 will make matters even more complex.

(Devarchit Varma is senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)