India vs New Zealand 2017, 1st ODI: Trent Boult's sizzling spell is SK Turning Point of the match
Amidst intense media frenzy on the two batting lineups, Rohit Sharma had spoken at length on the threat likely to be caused by Trent Boult. On a surface which was slightly sluggish than those usually seen at the Wankhede Stadium, the left-arm fast bowler reinforced the Indian opener's words by picking up four vital wickets and helped pave the way for New Zealand's comprehensive 6-wicket triumph.
Boult showed his class by operating with tremendous skill and consistently proved to be a menace to India's fortunes. After making optimum use of the new-ball by removing both openers cheaply, he returned in the death overs and accounted for two more key scalps to restrict the hosts to a below-par total.
Here's how the 28-year old pacer shaped the outcome of the first ODI with a sizzling spell in Mumbai.
Boult lands early blows
The stifling heat forced Indian skipper Virat Kohli to bat first upon winning a handy toss. Relying on the extra bounce on offer, Boult provided New Zealand with the early breakthrough. Shikhar Dhawan, who had returned to the ODI team after missing the previous series against Australia, fell for a single-digit score.
In spite of his opening partner's dismissal, Rohit failed to acknowledge the situation and began to throw caution to the wind. The local lad's bizarre tactics were quite evident when he suffered a couple of close shaves on successive deliveries off Tim Southee. Adam Milne's inability to judge the boundary line meant that those two chances went begging.
But Boult ensured that New Zealand were not to pay for the missed opportunities. Rohit inexplicably charged down the track and was once again lucky to survive. However, his serendipity ran out as he attempted a wild hoick on the very next delivery. The elegant batsman could not connect and had to walk back to the dressing room after being castled.
India stutter despite Kohli ton
Even as both his openers perished cheaply, Kohli led from the front by playing a valiant hand. With Kedar Jadhav succumbing to a soft dismissal, India's woes with the number four position in the batting lineup continued. The skipper tried to revive the innings by building a partnership with the enterprising Dinesh Karthik. Once the Tamil Nadu stalwart was dismissed, he looked to join hands with his predecessor.
Despite being a shadow of his former self, MS Dhoni battled hard and looked to add substance to the Indian innings. Just as he seemed to be well set, Boult broke through yet again. Showing his tactical nous, the southpaw took pace off the ball in order to induce a mistimed shot from the seasoned campaigner.
Meanwhile, Kohli carried on his merry way and brought up his 31st ODI century. He went past Ricky Ponting's tally of tons to slot in at second in the all-time list behind Sachin Tendulkar. When the compact right-hander started to plan an end overs onslaught, Boult poured cold water on the home team's hopes by removing the dangerous Hardik Pandya from the equation. Eventually, India had to settle for an underwhelming total of 280.
New Zealand ace stiff chase
Although the surface was not that conducive for either seam or spin, the visitors had their task cut out. Prior to this game, the highest successful chase at the Wankhede Stadium was India's memorable pursuit of 275 during the 2011 World Cup final. When the Kiwis lost their top three with just 80 runs on the scoreboard, Kohli's troops smelt blood.
However, Tom Latham and Ross Taylor combined together brilliantly to put on a match-defining partnership for the fourth wicket. Their 200-run stand was built on calculated stroke-play as well as relentless turning over of the strike. While the left-hander brought up his fourth ODI century, Taylor ran out of time and perished five runs short of what could have been another stellar hundred. By the experienced batsman's own admission, personal landmarks did not matter. New Zealand had carved out a significant 1-0 lead in the three-match series on the back of a convincing performance in all departments of the game.