A 3-0 win in the Test Series during Durga Puja and a 3-2 ODI series win on Diwali, the Indian team proffered their fans two-fold reasons to celebrate their biggest festivals.
India rambled on past a tremulous New Zealand in the 3-match Test Series, that had commenced on 22nd September at Kanpur, which ended with the visiting team’s whitewash( India 3-0 NZ). Subsequent to that, the ODI series had begun after a 6-day hiatus. It was New Zealand’s first ODI series since the one against Australia, that had concluded in a 3-2 victory for the Blackcaps, which also marked former star-skipper Brendon McCullum’s farewell. If we look through the numbers of both the teams starting from 1st March 2014 to 15th October 2016, India had a win/loss ratio of 1.875 whereas New Zealand’s was 1.933 off 48 and 47 ODIs respectively.
India kept the toss winning spree on in the 1st ODI as well, as an extension to the 3 Test matches prior to it and had opted to field first, keeping the dew factor in mind. The ODI at Dharmasala, apart from witnessing another middle-order collapse of New Zealand also witnessed Tom Latham’s resilient innings. The left-hander(79* off 98) formed a 9th wicket partnership of 71 runs(off 58 deliveries) with Timothy Southee(55 off 36), and carried his bat after the Blackcaps were all-out for 190. Despite all his efforts, Virat Kohli’s 85* off 81 ushered India to an easy win. [ Scorecard ]
More From Us: The Rise of Tom Latham
The 2nd ODI though brought back some hopes for New Zealand to finally win a game in the otherwise barren series when skipper Kane Williamson scored a brilliant 118 off 128 in Feroz Shah Kotla, whereas none of the other batsmen from either side could even manage a single fifty-plus score. Southee and Martin Guptill swooped crucial wickets which finally led to New Zealand’s first victory over India in the entire tour. [Scorecard]
In the 3rd ODI at Mohali, New Zealand had put up a total of 285 with the aid of Latham’s 66 and Taylor’s 44. Later, Kohli’s 154 and Dhoni’s 80 made the total look nothing but meager. Ross Taylor would’ve certainly regretted dropping Kohli when he was at 6 as India won by 7 wickets. [ Scorecard ]
Indian captain MS Dhoni’s home, Ranchi hosted the 4th ODI in which New Zealand finally won a toss and decided to bat first. Martin Guptill’s 72 won him the player of the match award as New Zealand defeated India by 19 runs. It paved the way for a decider, 5th ODI at Visakhapatnam which was to be held on 29th October. [Scorecard]
The 5th ODI can be said to have summed up the entire tour, exposing all the frailties of the New Zealand side. Rohit Sharma’s(who had scored just 53 in the first 4 matches) 70 and Virat Kohli’s 65 helped India put up a score of 269 which was appraised as a chaseable score at Visakhapatnam. What turned out was hardly anticipated by anyone. After Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Axar Patel scalped one each, leg spinner Amit Mishra left the New Zealand batting order in shreds with his 5-fer. New Zealand were all out for 79, the same score for which they had bowled India out in the WT20 match at Nagpur on 15th March, 2016. This was New Zealand’s shortest ODI innings in terms of overs – 23.1, and India had scooped a Series victory.
New Zealand Team: Review
In this section I, an ardent fan of the Blackcaps, would like to rate each of the players of the New Zealand side according to their performance in the ODI Series:
1. Martin Guptill – 7/10
For an ODI player of Guptill’s repute, who was highest scorer of the 2015 World Cup edition and also has the numbers outside of it, it was a disappointing series. The only good he produced with his bat was the 72 in the 4th ODI at Ranchi. Record – 111 at an average of 22.20 off 5 innings. What came as a surprise was his stint as bowler when swooped in and bagged 2 wickets in the 40th over in the 2nd ODI at Delhi. Besides that, his performance on field can hardly be questioned, from saving big runs to taking catches. His contributions to both the victories in New Zealand’s account has fetched him additional points.
2. Tom Latham – 9/10
After a consistent show in the Test series, Tom Latham continued his form in the ODIs and ended up 2nd in the list of most runs scored by a batsman in the series. With 244 runs at 61 Latham was fell second to a much better Virat Kohli 358 at 119.33 average. From carrying his bat in the 1st ODI to taking 2 vital catches in the 4th ODI, the left-hander has exhibited a uniformity in his performance. Despite scoring a couple of 50-plus score he was unable to convert any of those to three-figures, probably the only hitch in his otherwise smooth performance.
3. Kane Williamson – 8/10
That Kane Williamson is the best batsman in the New Zealand side is beyond argument. Yes, even in the 50-over format he has made enough impressions to have a slight edge over Ross Taylor, the one who has the big numbers,or Martin Guptill, who has had some glorious years in the shorter formats. Reason being Kane’s class in testing conditions where most batsmen fail to perform, something we witnessed in the 2nd ODI that was played at Feroz Shah Kotla. He gets an 8 mostly due to the 118 which not was not only his first ODI century in India but also aided his team for the 6-run victory. Record – 211 runs at 42.20. Regarding the captaincy bit, as Brendon McCullum says, we just need to give the youngster some time.
4. Ross Taylor – 5.5/10
It not a healthy sign when the team’s most experienced player is in terrible form. Ross Taylor has done hardly anything significant since the 290 at Perth last year, in any format. His susceptibility to run outs and to spin continued in this tour as well. Lack of discernment in his batting approach led to him to fall prey to the turn which he often tries to play shots against. His scores of 44 and 35 in the 3rd and 4th ODIs respectively were decent enough to fetch him a 6.5 but dropping vital catches is unacceptable from a fielder of his reputation. Record: Stands 7th in the list of most runs scored with 119 runs at 23.80 average. Rosco definitely needs to ameliorate his form, somewhat a restoration.
6. Jimmy Neesham- 6.5/10
Jimmy Neesham has been more popular on Twitter than in the Cricket field for a long time. A 47-ball 57 in Mohali and his 2/38, which included vital wickets of Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni, in New Zealand’s victory at Ranchi – the two highlights of Neesham’s performance in this series. Record: 76 runs and 4 wickets at 6.22 ecomony rate off 4 matches.
7. Wicketkeepers: Luke Ronchi & BJ Watling -2.5/10
While Luke Ronchi played the first 3 matches, Watling appeared in the last couple of ODIs. Both looked totally out of touch with their batting which was rather strange for Ronchi who was the highest run scorer amongst his teammates in the recently concluded Test series. While Ronchi was involved in 4 catches and 2 run-outs, Watling took 2 catches and assisted in 1 run-out.
8. Corey Anderson- 1.5/10
A lot was expected of Anderson who had just made a comeback to the team after staying away from international Cricket since the conclusion of this year’s WT20. Off 4 innings he just managed to score a scant total of 31 runs. He conceded 27 runs for no wicket in the 5th ODI, off the only 4 overs that he bowled in the entire series.
9. Anton Devcich- 1.5/10
Another player who did absolutely nothing to the team’s favour. Moreover, his inclusion in the team can only be explained as a need for the 3rd spinner. Scored 18 runs with the bat off the 2 innings that he played in and conceded 70 runs off 13 overs without claiming a wicket.
10. Mitchell Santner- 6/10
No particular highlights except he conceded lesser runs than usual, a healthy economy rate of 4 explains it. Despite that he only managed to claim 3 scalps after having bowled 46 overs. Added positive- always pretty swift on the field, was involved in 5 dismissals as fielder.
11. Tim Southee- 8/10
With a couple of 3-fers in the two matches in which New Zealand emerged victorious, Tim Southee was the most successful Kiwi bowler in terms of wickets. Also, a close to decent economy rate of 5.47. A 45-ball 55 in the 1st ODI which included six 4s and three 6s saved New Zealand a from horrible 108-8, as he formed a 71 partnership with opener Tom Latham.
12. Trent Boult- 7.5/10
Maintained a decent economy rate of 4.99 overall and bagged 6 wickets- 2 wickets each in the 2nd, 4th and 5th ODIs.
13. Ish Sodhi- 5 /10
No significant highlights to look back at. 4 wickets at a strike rate of 36.2, 2 of which came in the 5th ODI wherein another leg spinner India’s Amit Mishra ripped through New Zealand’s batting order. He conceded 152 runs at an economy rate of 6.28.
The Blackcaps will finally be playing a Test Series at home that is scheduled in November. A 2-match Test Series against Pakistan which commences on 17th November, 2016 at Christchurch.