New Zealand in India: T20I Series Talking Points

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Indian cricketers Jasprit Bumrah and Axar Patel walk back to pavilion at the end of Sri Lankan innings during the 3rd One Day International cricket match between Sri Lanka and India at the Pallekele international cricket stadium at Kandy, Sri Lanka on Sunday 27 August 2017. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

New Zealand completed their tour of India with a 2-1 defeat in the three match T20I series. The first two matches were very one-sided, with India registering a huge 53 run win in the first T20, but New Zealand won the second by 40 runs. The series culminated in an exciting eight over contest, which India narrowly edged after defending a total of 67 in a low scoring thriller. There were some incredible individual performances, ranging from a blistering hundred from Colin Munro to some impeccable death bowling from Jaspirit Bumrah.

Colin Munro: Boom or Bust

Kiwi opener Colin Munro stole the headlines after a superb century in the second T20 against India. This was not the first hundred he has scored this year, but he hit 101 off 54 against Bangladesh earlier this year. While this shows his immense talent and potential, he has failed to find any consistency throughout the year. A perfect example of this can be seen in the series against Bangladesh, where he scored 0,101,0 in the three matches. Munro also played one T20 against South Africa, but that was far from successful as he recorded yet another duck. Fast forward to this most recent series, Munro’s scores of 7,109 and 7 once again was symptomatic of his inability to deliver regularly. This will be particularly frustrating for him, as these two hundreds show that he definitely has the firepower to be a top T20 batsman, but his inconsistency is greatly hampering his ability to be a regular match winner.
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Is MS Dhoni’s Time Up?

Despite the recent support of captain Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni’s future in this India side seems far from certain after a poor run of form. Dhoni has had a recent failure to rotate the strike and has soaked up too many dot balls at crucial times. One such example of this was when he came in to bat in the second T20, with India needing around 12 an over. He struggled to get going and crawled to a slow 27 off 27 and that mean the required rate was catapulted beyond India’s reach. Although he ultimately went on to score 49 off 37, the damage had already been done and the game was already lost. Dhoni supporters tend to argue that he is in the side to be a power hitter and a finisher, but it seems that India no longer view this to be the case given his role in the eight over clash in the third T20. The keeper was dropped far down the order to number seven, with India choosing to send in players like Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer ahead of their experienced big hitter. The Indian management team seem to be rapidly losing faith in him, and the question of how long he will continue to play for is more pertinent than ever.
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New Zealand’s Seam Attack Struggling

One of the major strengths of the New Zealand T20 side is their seam attack of Trent Boult and Tim Southee. However, both bowlers were far from their best in this series. While left-armer Boult picked up six wickets, the most, he was also the most expensive front-line seamer in the series. His wickets came at a costly price, as he conceded a mammoth 96 runs in the ten overs he bowled, closely mirroring his ODI performance. The fate of Tim Southee was arguably even worse. Only picking up two wickets, Southee’s economy was similar to Boult’s, conceding 9.5 runs an over on average. Superficially, it would be easy to blame this anomaly on the flat Indian pitches and the pitch at Rajkot was especially lifeless. However, the Indian seamers actually had a very different experience. Jasprit Bumrah went at less than seven runs an over and picked up five wickets in the process. His new ball partner Bhuvneshwar Kumar was also miserly, his economy being under eight. Clearly, then, it was not impossible for the seamers to succeed and the New Zealand attack didn’t adapt to the Indian conditions.
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The Thrills of Eight Over Cricket

Cricket can be a funny game. It is one of the few sports where the format of the game can be drastically reduced on the day itself and is capable of producing some incredible surprises. On the day of the final T20, it seemed like there was no chance of play with all the forecasts indicating constant rain. Yet, a brief interlude in the deluge allowed for a game to be played and it was probably the most exciting game in the series. Usually one would assume that an eight over clash would be weighted in the batsman’s favour, but this game was exemplary in some of the death bowling and tactics on display. Jaspirit Bumrah was a particular standout, taking 2-9, while the Kiwis found it hard to get on top of Yuzvendra Chahal who ended with 0-8 in his two overs. In the end it came down to the last over, with New Zealand needing 19 off the final over, but they ended up falling six runs short. This just goes to show that it is impossible to predict a game of cricket and that it is not yet completely a batsman’s game.

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