The captain of India, MS Dhoni, has blamed the slow strip as the cause of his team’s defeat in the 2nd T20 vs. New Zealand, instead of holding his batsmen responsible.
India has yet to win a Twenty20 match against New Zealand and the Blue Shirts have been defeated in all four games they have played so far. The Black Caps achieved victory by one run and it was their second with this narrow margin. They earlier defeated Pakistan by a margin of a single run in the ICC World Twenty20, at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados, on May8, 2010. The Kiwis scored 133 runs for the loss of seven wickets and restricted the Green Shirts for 7-132 at the end of the scheduled 20 overs.
The second Twenty20 was held at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai, on Tuesday, September 11, 2012. New Zealand hammered 167 runs after losing five wickets at the end of the scheduled 20 overs. Brendon McCullum toyed with the Indian bowling, plundered 91 runs in 55 mere balls with 3 huge sixes and 11 sweetly timed fours. He was supported well by Kane Williamson who scored 28 runs but most importantly shared a 90 runs partnership for the third wicket.
India sent in their premier batsman, Virat Kohli, to open the innings with the seasoned Gautam Gambhir and the first wicket was lost at 26 runs. Kohli took over from there and shared a couple of match winning partnerships with Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh. India was anticipating a win even before the 20th over until he was at the crease as the Black Caps skipper, Ross Taylor, deployed six bowlers to get rid of him. Virat Kohli was finally gone after smashing 70 runs off just 41 deliveries with 1 six and 10 fours.
The innings of Kohli was highly appreciated by MS Dhoni who commented,
“Virat gave us a very good start. After that, Raina and Yuvraj also batted really well. A lot of positive for us before the start of the World Cup.”
Virat Kohli was the third batsman who went back to the pavilion when the Men in Blue had reached 120 in 13.2 overs. They required another 48 runs to win the match in the possible 40 balls which was not a big ask. Dhoni was the next batsman to join in with the smooth going Yuvraj Singh and the duo scored just 12 runs in the next three overs. The home side required 32 runs from the last 18 balls but managed only three boundaries and victory stood two runs away from them. MS Dhoni held the wicket liable for their loss in the match and said,
“Our worry was how the wicket would behave in the second half. This is one area where we were expecting the wicket to be the same. After the 10th or 12th over, it got tough. Had it remained the way it was in the first half, we would have fancied our chances.”
All was going well for India while Virat Kohli was at the crease but the hosts lost the rhythm as soon as he departed. Dhoni is in a habit of taking the match in the last overs and his attitude has been criticised by the top order batsman, Gautam Gambhir, earlier when the team lost such games while participating in the tri series in Australia.
MS Dhoni manoeuvred 22 runs in the 23 deliveries he faced and got just two boundaries. India needed six runs to win the match in the last two balls when Rohit Sharma reached the centre after the fall of Yuvraj Singh. Sharma could manage 2, 2 on the final deliveries against the calculated bowling of James Franklin.
The wicket was playing well until the 13.2 overs when the master blaster, Virat Kohli, was at the crease but suddenly it changed as described by the Indian skipper and it is unbelievable. India could have won the match after a solid platform was provided by their top order if the middle order batsmen had applied themselves and especially MS Dhoni who blamed the pitch by saying,
“The wicket slowed down and it was difficult to hit. It’s among the bigger grounds. It was holding up not like all the balls have same bounce. In the end it became quite difficult.”