New Zealand rode on a superlative Ross Taylor century to end their losing streak and defeat India by four wickets at Hamilton and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
They now have a chance to close out the series when the sides meet on Saturday at Auckland.
India were stunned by the improvements in the Kiwi batting performances, but their own fielding left a lot to be desired. Although there was a bit of interest in the end with a flurry of wickets, the result was never in doubt. As the teams move on to Auckland, the hosts suddenly look better equipped to go for a win.
New Zealand struggled with their bowling, as the Indians ran riot in the middle and slog overs to reach 347/4. Tim Southee took 2/84, but the others proved expensive and ineffective. Thankfully for the hosts, their batting came good.
Henry Nicholls (78), Ross Taylor (109) and Tom Latham (69) all returned good knocks and proved to be the difference in the end. There was the usual stutter in the middle-order, but New Zealand held on. Once again, it will be Taylor and Latham who will be crucial to their chances.
India’s top-order once again lived up to its promise, with Virat Kohli (51) firing at the top. Shreyas Iyer brought up his maiden ODI century (103), while KL Rahul continued his excellent form with a measured knock (88). The target was good enough to defend, but India managed to goof things up.
Barring Jasprit Bumrah (10-1-53-0) and Ravindra Jadeja (10-064-0), there wasn’t any Indian bowler who was effective. Shardul Thakur and Kuldeep Yadav conceded at more than eight runs an over. Although a single loss shouldn’t worry them a lot, India know that they haven’t been consistent enough in the field.
New Zealand made light work of Williamson’s absence, thanks largely to their two best batsmen of the squad – Taylor and Latham. The onus will once again be on the pair to lead them on the field to another win. India will not take things lying down, though, especially as their experienced bowling line-up of Shami and Bumrah will look to improve. It will be a tight battle between the stroke makers on the two sides.
History & Statistics
- India have won 11 of their last 16 completed ODIs, losing only five.
- The chasing side has won six of India’s last eight ODIs.
- India have won six of their last eight bilateral ODIs against New Zealand.
- India have four of their last six bilateral away H2H ODIs.
- New Zealand have won five of their last six home ODIs.
- New Zealand have won five of their last six ODIs at this venue.
- The chasing side has won the last six H2Hs (excluding the tied match) at this venue.
While the spotlight stays on the bigger players, Henry Nicholls continues to shine for New Zealand – back-to-back 50s as opener.
After a long search, India seem to have zeroed down on their number 4. Shreyas Iyer has 4×50 and 1×100 in his last nine ODIs.