India vs New Zealand 2016: Rating the Indian cricketers from the ODI series
Entering into the series after whitewashing New Zealand 3-0 in the Tests, India’s ODI side was without a few of their regular bowlers and knew that they were in for a close affair. Skipper MS Dhoni was himself under considerable pressure as the team's recent 50-overs form had been quite patchy.
The hosts began the 5-match series with a convincing victory at Dharamsala before the Kiwis pulled one back at Delhi. The same sequence repeated for one more time with a Virat Kohli special in Mohali followed by a scrapping win for Blackcaps in the skipper’s hometown. When it all came down to Vizag for the series decider, India brought their A-game and demolished the visitors by a whopping 190-run margin to clinch the series 3-2.
Let us take a look at how each Indian player contributed to their series victory over New Zealand.
Virat Kohli – 9
By far the standout batsman in the ODI series, Kohli played a key role in each of the three victories for India. That he had a quiet time during both matches which the hosts lost should underline his importance to the limited-overs side.
With 358 runs from the 5 ODIs at an average of 119.33 and strike-rate of 100.84, the 27-year old dominated the scene completely by single-handedly carrying the Indian batting lineup on his shoulders.
Amit Mishra – 9
With the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja given a breather, the responsibility lay on Mishra’s hands to help control the middle-overs. The leg-spinner pulled that off in a compelling manner by topping the wicket charts without too much fuss.
Mishra took home the Player of the Series award due to his consistent ability to prise out breakthroughs when partnerships threatened to blossom. He has definitely made a case to retain his spot in the ODI side even if the frontline spin duo return.
Jasprit Bumrah – 7.5
The 22-year old seamer chipped with adequate contributions throughout the series to enhance his reputation as a bankable limited-overs bowler for India. His economy-rate of 4.04 was the best among both sides if the minimum criteria of five overs is imposed.
Kedar Jadhav – 7
Picked in the team predominantly for his explosive batting from the lower middle-order, Jadhav instead turned out to be a surprise package with the ball by picking up six wickets from 18 overs in the series which meant Dhoni had another ace up his sleeve.
MS Dhoni – 7
Although he eventually ended up as India’s second highest run-scorer, the veteran did not do too much to allay the fears regarding his waning reflexes which a strike-rate of 71.11 suggests. But, the wicket-keeper batsman was his usual self behind the stumps with the run-out of Ross Taylor at Ranchi reiterating the street-smart skills.
Umesh Yadav – 7
The Vidarbha speedster was the second leading wicket-taker among both sides and bowled with stifling pace which enabled him to strike frequently during the Power Play overs. However, his propensity to leak runs at inopportune times did not seem to abate.
Axar Patel – 6.5
Going by wickets tally alone might not help reveal the full story behind Axar Patel’s utility to the bowling unit. The left-arm spinner applied the brakes in the middle-overs with his stump-to-stump line.
Hardik Pandya – 6
Upon receiving his ODI cap from the legendary Kapil Dev, Hardik Pandya looked like solving India’s seemingly perennial search for a seam bowling all rounder by leaving an instant impression at Dharamsala. The right-armer‘s spell of 3/31 gave India a smooth passage to victory and earned him the Player of the Match award too. But, his fortunes gradually deteriorated which led to him being dropped in the final match.
Jayant Yadav – 6
The 26-year old off-spinning all rounder got an opportunity in the final ODI and ensured that he got off the mark in both departments of the game. Making his debut on a raging turner, Jayant trapped Corey Anderson in front to pick up his maiden international wicket.
Rohit Sharma – 5.5
Rohit entered into the fifth ODI on the back of scores reading 14, 15, 13 and 11. With his regular opening partner Shikhar Dhawan missing from action due to injury, he was not able to form a viable partnership with Ajinkya Rahane. But, the elegant right-hander finally came to the party in the decider with a 65-ball 70.
Ajinkya Rahane – 5
India’s most dependable batsman in Tests currently, Rahane was given a chance to showcase his talent in the 50-overs format as well. However, he disappointed by managing only 143 runs at a below-par average of 28.60 and inadequate strike-rate of 70.79.
Dhawal Kulkarni – 4.5
With Bumrah’s unavailability for the fourth ODI opening up a place in the lineup, Kulkarni stepped in and was entrusted with the new ball by his skipper. Figures of 7-0-59-1 did not signal promising things though he did score a valiant 26-ball 25 at number 10.
Manish Pandey – 4
Undoubtedly the biggest disappointment from the series for India, Manish tallied just 76 runs from the five games at a woeful average of 19. With only three more ODIs to go (against England) before the 2017 Champions Trophy, his indifferent form should present a major concern.