India scripted a near-perfect victory over New Zealand in the second ODI in Raipur on Saturday, with the Men in Blue putting up a clinical effort to seal the series 2-0 with a game to spare.
It was as though New Zealand were no match for the hosts, with every one of the Indian bowlers featuring among the wicket-takers to see off the visitors for just 108 after opting to field.
Skipper Rohit Sharma led from the front in India’s reply, registering a half-century, while Shubman Gill, who will be fighting for a place in the ODI World Cup later this year in India, also proved why he should be one of the contenders, with an unbeaten 40.
This was India’s third successive series win in 2023, having beaten Sri Lanka in a T20I and ODI series earlier in January.
Let’s now take a look at five takeaways from the second ODI:
Impactful Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami returned with impressive figures in the second ODI against the Black Caps, finishing with figures of 3/18. It was only in December that Shami was ruled out of the ODI series against Bangladesh, but Shami seems to have found his rhythm back in action for the Men in Blue.
Shami led India’s bowling attack against the Kiwis by example, and he made a very quick impact after the visitors were put to bat, cleaning up Finn Allen in the fifth ball of the first over.
New Zealand were off to a slow start in their innings, and Shami continued his economical run with the wicket of Daryl Mitchell, who was caught and bowled by Shami himself.
The Kiwis were in a dire situation even before the 20th over, and Shami struck yet again with a superb bouncer, to dismiss Hyderabad’s hero Michael Bracewell, courtesy a catch from wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan.
Shubman Gill stakes him claim for World Cup
2023 is a crucial year with the ODI World Cup in India taking place, and one of the players who staked his claim for the major tournament was Shubman Gill. Gill enthralled the Hyderabad crowd in the first ODI with a match-winning 208, and he followed it up with an unbeaten 40 in the second match, playing his part in India’s comfortable run chase.
Gill’s performance in the two ODIs against New Zealand was yet another example that he will certainly be one to watch out for, and a serious contender in that Indian ODI World Cup squad.
We’re just three weeks into the new year, but the 23-year-old has already made most use of his opportunities so far, amassing 455 runs from five ODIs at an average of 113. 75.
On Saturday, Gill was involved an a 72-run stand with skipper Rohit Sharma, who himself scored fifty, and eventually remained unbeaten till the end of the match, with Ishan Kishan (8 not out) at the other end.
KL Rahul missed the ongoing ODI series due to family commitments, and Gill not only welcomed the opportunity with both arms, but also made a statement with the bat, as to why he should be considered for the ODI World Cup afterall.
Rohit Sharma leads from the front
Rohit Sharma led his team from the front on Saturday, notching up a 50-ball 51 to set the platform for an easy India victory.
Rohit had got off to a start in the first ODI, but had failed to capitalise on it and convert the start. However, he made amends for it with a fine half-century against the Kiwis in the second ODI.
If it was a knock of 83 in an ODI against Sri Lanka recently, Rohit made it count against the Kiwis with another half-century, especially after failing to convert on a start in the first ODI.
On Saturday, there was a huge LBW appeal from the visitors against Rohit Sharma in the very first over of the Indian chase, but replays showed there was an edge, and the ball was in fact missing the stumps.
Rohit did well to tackle the pacers, even playing the pull shot for a six against Lockie Ferguson that caught the eyes of many.
Eventually, Rohit fell to Henry Shipley’s trap, being dismissed LBW in the 15th over.
New Zealand’s top-order troubles
In the first ODI, barring Finn Allen, New Zealand’s top-order failed to fire in unfamiliar Indian sub-continent conditions, and the Kiwi top-order struggled yet again in Raipur on Saturday.
As many as eight of their batters endured single-figure scores in the second ODI, and the first five batters added up for just 11 runs of the disappointing total.
There were a couple of notable partnerships, with Michael Bracewell and Glenn Phillips combining 41 runs between them, while Mitchell Santner and Phillips made 47 together.
Partnerships in the latter stages of an innings always come under pressure when a flurry of wickets have been taken by the opposition, and it was not easy for the Kiwis despite the couple of stands, as they succumbed to a low total of 108.
Overall, there was nothing much for New Zealand to smile about, and it’s not easy for a Kiwi side that is missing the services of veterans like Kane Williamson and Ish Sodhi.
All the Black Caps can now do is tinker on what went wrong in the two ODIs, and come up with a better solution to tackle the Indians in the third ODI.
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