Dubai: After India had inflicted a clean 5-0 sweep on New Zealand in the Twenty20 International series no one expected that they would receive a 3-0 whitewash in the ODI series that followed. If the Indians were clinical in their performance in T20 format, New Zealand were outstanding in all departments in the ODI series.
In fact, India were riding high in confidence after becoming the first ever team in men’s T20 cricket to clean sweep a five-match series. New Zealand, by consigning India to their first bilateral series whitewash in 31 years, revealed the fighting spirit in them to stage a huge comeback.
Here are five reasons behind India’s defeat.
Absence of Rohit Sharma and poor start
In an interview to Gulf News, India team coach Ravi Shastri had once said that the biggest fear he has is injury to his key players. Opener Rohit Sharma’s absence owing to an injury hit the team very hard. India badly missed their injured opener Shikhar Dhawan too. It resulted in India not getting to a flying start compared to New Zealand openers. In the first ODI match in which Prithiv Shaw and Mayank Agarwal put on 50 runs, in the next two they posted just 21 and eight runs together. On the other hand, New Zealand openers Martin Guptill and Henry Nicholls recorded partnerships of 85 in the first match, 93 in the second and 106 in the third.
Kohli’s rare failure
When key batsmen were absent, Virat Kohli should have played some characteristically superlative knocks. In the first match he hit 50 but in the next two recorded scores of 15 and nine only. Middle order batsmen like Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul showed enough consistency, but the captain’s form causes a signficant difference to India’s run-flow. To add to India’s woes, New Zealand’s veteran Ross Taylor played brilliantly with unbeaten knocks of 100 and 73 in the first two matches.
Resting Shami and wicketless Bumrah
Kohli’s decision to rest their strike bowler Mohammad Shami from the second and third one-dayers to manage the workload on him during the oncoming Test series was surprising. It is unlikely that Shami would have been tired after just four over spells each day in the T20 series. Jasprit Bumrah’s not being among the wickets, too, hurt the team under the circumstance. The ultra-economical Bumrah’s analysis were 0 for 53, 0 for 64, 0 for 50 - which tells its own story.
India’s fielding below par
Kohli had to candidly admit that his team’s fielding wasn’t impressive. It was in sharp contrast to their fielding in the T20 series. After the defeat in the first game which saw a close contest, India should have displayed more fighting spirit on the field. In the two matches, India let the game slip away by failing to consolidate things when they looked good. Mayank Agarwal and Prithiv Shaw, who got their chances, failed to capitalise on them. Agarwal had scores of only 32, 3 and one in three matches.
New Zealand show verve
To inflict a 3-0 clean sweep on a team like India, after being trounced 5-0 in the T20 series, required huge resolve and the hosts showed it in plenty. Captain Kane Williamson made sure to egg the boys to handle the pressure. He assigned roles to each players and gave them the confidence to give their best. The idea to put India under pressure worked and made sure they are under control during key moments.