New Zealand vs India, 2020: Bowling efficiency fetches India victory in 2nd T20 Auckland
- Such exemplary performances from the bowling group hold India in good stead in the preparations for the T20 World Cup later this year.
Since India had gunned down an enormous 203 in Auckland's series opener, an even aggressive approach from New Zealand's batsmen was duly anticipated in the second T20I. The theory of firing on all cylinders while batting first has more often than not proved detrimental in the shortest version of the game. India themselves, on numerous occasions, have faced the repercussions of the slam-bang concept and ended up posting miserable numbers on the board. But on Sunday night, it was Kane Williamson's men who overlooked the pitch's double-paced nature, failed to amend their strategies halfway, and endured fatal consequences. Though New Zealand floundered collectively as a batting unit and their own errors of judgement deserve the share of blame, the primary reason behind their undoing was India's magnificent bowling display.
Martin Guptill made his intentions clear right from the outset, launching consecutive maximums off Shardul Thakur. However, despite the odd boundary here and there, the track's sluggishness combined with India's unforgiving lengths meant New Zealand couldn't benefit from the fielding restrictions and only managed 39 after 5 overs. Much to their annoyance, Guptill squandered another headstart and departed off the last ball of the powerplay, slam opening India's window to wrestle back the advantage.
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The Kiwis were itching to break the shackles, but India had their plans ready - operate in tight channels and let the opposition force the issue. Runs dried up and the pressure mounted significantly on New Zealand. Moreover, Virat Kohli didn't allow the Black Caps any room to settle by cleverly shuffling his bowling options. Colin Munro felt the heat and perished trying to up the ante, leaving the hosts in dire straits.
Ravindra Jadeja's introduction further compounded New Zealand's problems. The proficient left-arm tweaker exposed Colin de Grandhomme's faulty technique against spin while also removing big fish Williamson in the subsequent over. Meanwhile, Yuzvendra Chahal worked around defensive lengths and gave absolutely nothing away, intensifying India's stranglehold.
India's pace spearheads hammered the final nail in the coffin. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami executed yorkers and slower deliveries to perfection, devoiding New Zealand any ounce of momentum going into the innings break. Shouldered with the responsibility of providing the late flourish, Ross Taylor and Tim Seifert kept swinging their willows fruitlessly, having to contend merely with singles and doubles. The Kiwis eventually huffed and puffed to 132/5 - a minuscule total against India's power-packed batting arsenal, or versus any half-decent side for that matter. Kohli expressed his satisfaction with India's marvelous bowling effort.
"The bowlers stood up and took control. I think the lines and lengths we bowled today, sticking to one side of the wicket and being sure of what we wanted to bowl. I think Jadeja was outstanding, once again Chahal was a banker. Bumrah was amazing as well."
Losing captain Williamson too showered praises on India's bowlers, ''Credit to the Indian bowlers for the way they restricted us, credit to the Indian side that put us under pressure and outplayed us in all the departments''.
Taking into account the weird ground dimensions and New Zealand's firepower, the manner in which India's bowlers did their jobs was truly incredible. If the batsmen plotted India's victory in the curtain raiser, it was the bowlers who ensured the visitors ticked all the right boxes and conspired the Black Caps' thrashing in Auckland's double-header. Such exemplary performances from the bowling group hold India in good stead in the preparations for the T20 World Cup later this year.