For a long time, this Kiwi side was under the leadership of McCullum who always loves to takes risks when on the field. Even the best captain of New Zealand would have opted for Southee and Boult to play in their first game of this World T20, but new Skipper Williamson had different ideas, he saw a dry Nagpur pitch and straight away opted for a three-man spin attack to haunt India. Out of the three spinners, Sodhi and Santner never played in India at a level like this, so a move like this was a show of sheer confidence from the New Zealand management and what’s more all three contributed in destroying a solid Indian lineup and winning the game.
Winning the toss, Kiwi skipper Williamson had no hesitation in batting first. New Zealand couldn’t cope with ball not coming on to the ball and gripping. They tried to smash the spinners out- Guptill hitting the first ball for a six and Colin Munro began with jaw-dropping switch hit but both lost their wickets and New Zealand by the end of power play had just 33 runs on the board.
Williamson perished soon after stumped out of the bowling of Raina. Taylor and Anderson tried to rebuild the innings but both never looked comfortable and Dhoni intelligently irked out overs from Raina. A sheer brilliance from Raina off his bowling when he stopped the ball and flicked it to the stumps and caught Taylor backing up too far. Anderson was soon castled by Bumrah, an uncharacteristic innings from the hard-hitting Kiwi, a 42-ball 34 with lots of dot balls included in it.
India looked on top after that but last over blitz by Ronchi ensured that Kiwis finish with a total of over 120. To be honest 126 was never going to be very tough for the Indians and the visitors knew about it but Nathan McCullum, Mitchell Santner and Inderbir Singh Sodhi had different ideas. Wicket in the first over was the perfect beginning and Nathan McCullum was the man with the golden arm when he prized out Shikhar Dhawan. Next over, Santner bowled two peach deliveries to get rid of Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina. Indians were still not very nervous knowing the fact their main man Kohli still there at the crease and Indians bat deep. Two overs later, Yuvraj chipped one straight to
McCullum to put Indian in a spot of bother at 23 for 4. Now, it was up to India’s best chasers- Dhoni and Kohli to steady the ship and reconstruct the falling innings. Then came Ish Sodhi to bowl, the Punjab – borned Kiwi bowled a flighted delivery to which Kohli’s eyes lit up and went for a drive only to edge it behind to Ronchi who was impressive with his glove-work despite terrifying spin conditions.
At 39 for 5 Indians looked very nervous due to the fact that one of their main man is back in hut. Pandya and Jadeja were soon removed by Santner and Sodhi respectively to leave India reeling at 43 for 7, yes 43 for 7. Ashwin and Dhoni tried to rebuild the innings but the other problem which started to creep into batsmen minds was the required run-rate which slowly crept its way to double-figures. Dhoni hit a six off Sodhi in the 17th over but the bowler came back well by prizing out Ashwin stumped by impressive Ronchi. Dhoni then was caught in the deep off the bowling of Santner to finish off the game completely.
New Zealand trusted their less-experienced spinners to perform well in this raging turner of a pitch and it paid off to perfection as those three spinners Sodhi, Santner and McCullum made vital contributions with the ball to humble the tournament favourites and hosts India.