The start to the series was in Mumbai where something completely unexpected happened. India was entirely dominated by the visitors, their win by 6 wickets was actually a perfect wake up call for the in-form Indian team. Over the years, New Zealand batsmen have shown immense improvement in the sub-continent conditions, especially against spin and a proof of it was seen in this match when Ross Taylor and Tom Latham stole the game away from India with a 200 plus partnership.
Indian bowling after a long time looked pale and ineffective. Also, captain Kohl’s hundred was in a losing cause which doesn’t happen too often.Trent Boult’s left arm swing did trouble the Indian batsmen, and he was the pick of the bowlers for New Zealand.
This loss made the Indians think a lot a lot more and look back at what went wrong in that game, which was mainly their bowling. They came back with an equally strong reply to show the world why they are one of the top class teams in world cricket at the moment. Winning by 6 wickets in Pune, the Indian bowlers particularly Bumrah, Bhuvaneshwar and Chahal bowled exceptionally well to restrict New Zealand to just 230, and the chase on such an excellent batting friendly pitch was a mere formality for the Indian batsmen.
It all came down once again to the final match, the decider just like last year, and this time, Kanpur was the venue. New Zealand won the toss and chose to bowl, considering the dew factor and probably because they are much confident while chasing a score.
Hosts lost Dhawan early in the innings, but then India’s best limited overs batsmen, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli made the most of the batting conditions. The vice-captain and the captain stitched a record-breaking partnership of 230 runs for the second wicket with both of them scoring fantastic hundreds, filled with shots which were pleasing to the eye. It helped India post a massive total of 337.
At the halfway mark, it did look that India might have got just enough runs on the board to win this one, but New Zealand batsmen had other plans in mind. They started the innings explosively and made sure that the required run-rate was always in control. Excellent fifties from Munro, Williamson and Latham had pretty much set it up for New Zealand to win this series.
With the equation down to 34 off 24 balls, this was New Zealand’s game for sure but then cricket is a game filled with uncertainties, and nobody knows what can happen. Sudden fall of wickets at crucial times breaking the partnerships and loss of calm at the end made the result go against New Zealand, and they ended up being short by 6 runs.
Bhuvaneshwar had an off day, but Bumrah was just brilliant. Chahal got the wickets in the middle to make sure that New Zealand don’t take it away easily and then the deadly duo of Bhuvaneshwar and Bumrah sealed the game and the series for India.
India won the series by 2-1, and this indeed was an incredible series to witness. Both teams displayed excellent quality of cricket and the match going till the last over, kept the thrill and suspense in it. In the end, the better team, the team that held their nerve in the pressure situation ended up on the winning side.