‘Night of hu­mil­i­a­tion’ as In­dia brought down to earth

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

World Twenty20 hosts In­dia were ac­cused of com­pla­cency Wed­nes­day af­ter the tour­na­ment's red-hot favourites were brought down to earth in a stun­ning open­ing-match de­feat to New Zealand. Af­ter win­ning 10 of their last 11 matches, In­dia were bowled out for just 79 -their low­est to­tal on home turf -- by an un­her­alded New Zealand team who had made a be­low­par score in Nag­pur late on Tues­day.

All of In­dia's lead­ing bats­men had been in fine form in the lead-up to the tour­na­ment but on a turn­ing pitch, they were un­able to cope with a trio of New Zealand bowlers, in­clud­ing the rookie Mitchell Sant­ner.

The left-arm spin­ner, who has been play­ing in­ter­na­tional cricket for less than a year, took four for 11. Ish Sodhi, a 23-year-old leg break bowler who was born in north­ern In­dia, took three for 18 in his four overs.

As a pro­ces­sion of bats­men trudged back to the pav­il­ion, the sta­dium rapidly emp­tied be­fore In­dia were put out of their mis­ery in the first ball of their penul­ti­mate over.

In­dian skip­per Ma­hen­dra Singh Dhoni, who top-scored with 30, felt let down by his fel­low bats­men who had been ex­pected to com­fort­ably chase down the Black Caps' mea­gre to­tal of 126.

"There were quite a few soft dis­missals and there was no part­ner­ship at all," said Dhoni in his post-match press con­fer­ence.

"The bowlers did a good job by re­strict­ing them to 126. I feel it was the bat­ting depart­ment that could have done slightly bet­ter... It was a 140 wicket." The Times of In­dia said Dhoni's side had been guilty of com­pla­cency and that the dis­missal of big-hit­ting opener Ro­hit Sharma, who was stumped well out­side his crease for just five, pointed to a wider malaise.

"A tar­get of 127 seemed too easy and there was a sense of com­pla­cency about the way In­dia went about their chase," said the news­pa­per. "Sharma, (who)... seemed to be out on an evening stroll, char­ac­ter­ized In­dia's lack of ap­pli­ca­tion."

The Hin­dus­tan Times said vet­eran bats­man Yu­vraj Singh's re­fusal to walk un­til af­ter he was clearly caught and bowled by Nathan McCul­lum was "the most em­bar­rass­ing mo­ment" on "a night of hu­mil­i­a­tion".

The In­dian Ex­press said the re­sult was more than a sim­ple wake-up call but rather "like be­ing dunked by cold wa­ter on a bone-chill­ing night".

The re­sult means New Zealand have now won all five of their com­pleted T20s against In­dia, and vin­di­cated new cap­tain Kane Wil­liamson's sur­prise de­ci­sion to omit his main pace bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

It also went a long way to prove there is life af­ter Bren­don McCul­lum fol­low­ing the in­spi­ra­tional Black Caps skip­per's re­tire­ment last month. New Zealand's bats­men also strug­gled against In­dia's spin­ners and their top score was a streaky 34 by Corey An­der­son. But Sant­ner said that the New Zealand bowlers had taken heart from see­ing how much the ball had been turn­ing.

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