Nagpur: A top-form New Zealand team beat a rather clueless India by 47 runs in the opening match of the ICC World T20 2016 at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur. Indian batsmen were no match for the focussed Kiwi bowlers, with India beginning their tournament journey on a losing note.
Defending a modest total of 126 runs, New Zealand bowlers displayed impeccable performance not allowing the Indian batsmen to settle down at the crease. The Kiwis' move to play with three spinners paid-off well with the trio clinching 9 wickets out of the Indian innings. Consistent bowling in the right areas with just the right amount of flight forced Indian batsmen to play balls on the front foot leaving room for several errors, which the Indians did commit.
The loss is significant not just because of the group standings, but also because the hosts now square off next against Pakistan in Kolkata four days from now.
Mitchell Santner, for his flawless bowling of 4/11, was adjudged Man-of-the-Match. Besides, Ish Sodhi (3/18) and Nathan McCullum (2/15) proved rewarding for the Kiwis.
Starting as favourites, India started off their chase on a rather negative note with Dhawan, Rohit and Raina returning back to the pavilion early, scoring 1, 5 and 1 respectively. Soon, Yuvraj also departed at 4 off 5 balls leaving India in deep trouble.
Wickets kept falling at regular intervals for India as the Kiwi bowlers McClullum and Santner wove magic with their bowling. Virat Kohli got dismissed for 23 off 27 balls. Pandya and Jadeja couldn't make any significant contribution either.
Indian captain MS Dhoni, however, stayed on the crease trying his best to save his team from a shameful defeat. But, unfortunately, he got out for 30 off 30 balls. Ashwin scored 10 off 20 balls.
Earlier, Indian bowlers put up a great show in their opening match against the Kiwis in the World T20 2016, restricting New Zealand batsmen to 126 at the loss of seven wickets at the end of the 20 overs.
New Zealand struggled before the Indian bowlers with the hosts managing early breakthroughs in the form of both the openers. Ashwin, Nehra, Raina, Jadega and Pandya took one wicket each for India.
Ravichandran Ashwin claimed the wicket of Kiwi opener Martin Guptill, dismissing him on the second ball of the first over after a six on the very first ball of the match.
Colin Munro was then sent back by Ashish Nehra for a score of 7 off 6 balls. NZ soon lost their third wicket in the form of Kane Williamson. Suresh Raina sent him packing on a personal score of 8 off 16 balls.
Fall of wickets continued with Ross Taylor getting run out for 10 off 14 balls. Corey Anderson kept the scoreboard ticking for NZ before getting bowled by Jasprit Bumrah for 34 off 42 balls.
Mitchell Santner and Grand Elliot also couldn't do much with the bat as they got out for 18 and 9 respectively.