New Zealand In India: ODI Series Talking Points

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli (C) celebrates with his teammates after dismissing Sri Lankan cricketer Dilshan Munaweera during the fourth one day international (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and India at R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on August 31, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

India have dominated their recent home fixtures, but New Zealand gave them a huge scare and they pushed the hosts all the way. The visitors stormed to an impressive win in the first ODI, with Tom Latham and Ross Taylor sending a clear message of intent to the seemingly fatigued Indian bowlers. However, India bounced back impressively and secured two crucial wins to recover from 0-1 to take the series 2-1. It was a fascinating series, with some terrific cricket being played, and it revealed lots about both sides.

Guptill Continues To Struggle In India 

There were a lot of runs on offer in this series, but New Zealand opener Martin Guptill struggled to find any form. A decent 32 in the first ODI showed promise, but his subsequent scores of 11 and 10 were exceptionally disappointing. While many overseas batsmen struggle to adapt to the turning conditions in India, Guptill was actually dismissed by a seamer in every game in he played. Most of his dismissals came as a result of him looking to hit over the top and be aggressive, which is rather risky on the slow subcontinent pitches. This is not the first time Guptill has struggled in the subcontinent. During New Zealand’s 2016/17 tour of India, he only managed to score one fifty in the five matches he played and also picked up two ducks. Guptill is yet to average above 30 in a bilateral ODI series in the subcontinent, which is worrying given his career average is well above 40. His spot could well be under threat for subsequent tours to the subcontinent.
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Rohit Sharma Is Always Dangerous

It is always difficult to find form after a few poor scores, but this does not seem to apply to Rohit Sharma. The Mumbai Indians star had a poor start to the series, managing only 20 in the first ODI before he was dismissed by Trent Boult. Critics were quick to jump on the opener, fearing that his weakness to left-arm seamers would be consistently exploited throughout the remainder of the series. However, this was actually the only time in the series he was dismissed by the left-armer. It was Tim Southee who dismissed him in the second ODI for just 7, but the opener went berserk in the final game and smashed a rapid 147. It was a typical Rohit Sharma innings, containing an impressive 18 fours and two maximums. This innings represented the immense mental strength and resilience Rohit Sharma has, to be able to put his past failures behind him and accumulate one of the largest ODI scores of the year.

Tom Latham Continues To Shine

New Zealand often needed to rely on their middle order, and Tom Latham in particular stood out. The wicketkeeper batsman ended the series with an incredible average of 103, scoring 206 runs in three innings (with one not out). His most impressive innings came in the first ODI, where his hundred took New Zealand from the precarious 80/3 to the formidable total of 284/4 at the end of their allotted overs. Before the series he had cited concerns over his ability to play spin, but Latham looked in fine form as he systematically took apart the Indian wrist spinners. He even apparently played the reverse sweep for the first time in a match. He carried this form throughout the rest of the series, with a solid 38 in the second ODI and a quick 65 in the third to give New Zealand a shot of clinching the series. He has had a fantastic year; this success is following on from his equally terrific performance in a tri-series with Ireland and Bangladesh. In that series, Latham was even handed the captaincy and took on the burden of opening the batting. This did not phase him at all, as he went on to hit two fifties and one century in the four matches he played. No matter where he bats in this New Zealand order, Tom Latham is rapidly establishing himself as one of the best limited over batsmen around.
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Contrasting Fates For The Indian Seamers

One of the keys to India’s recent limited overs success has been their new ball bowling attack. The pair of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah have been fantastic this year, managing to trouble batsmen early on with swing and pinpoint accuracy. Bumrah continued to excel in this series, with his haul of 6 wickets being the joint highest with Tim Southee. Most impressive, though, was his tight economy of just 4.8 – the lowest out of all the seamers. He was consistent throughout the series, picking up wickets in each of the matches and he never conceded more than 60 runs in the course of his 10 overs. A particular highlight was his terrific performance in the final ODI, where his 3-47 swung the game back in India’s favour.

His new ball partner, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, had less success. After a mediocre first ODI performance, Kumar bounced back emphatically in the second ODI with a masterful 3-45 which included the key wickets of Guptill and Munro. However, his performance in the final ODI was very weak and he really struggled. After conceding a remarkable 19 runs in the first over of the match, his confidence was severely dented and he failed to regain control. He ended his dismal spell with outrageous figures of 1-92, picking up the consolation wicket of Nicholls at the death. It was definitely a below par performance from the seamer and perhaps it can simply be blamed on his fatigue after the arduous home season.

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