Dubai, Oct 31 (PTI) India’s globally acclaimed batting line-up put up another woeful performance to score a paltry 110 for seven against New Zealand, effectively putting them in danger of losing out on a semi-final spot in the ICC T20 World Cup here on Sunday.
New Zealand, the bogey team for India at global events over the years, embarrassed Virat Kohli’s men, who didn’t even show any stomach for a fight after their skipper lost an important toss.
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It seemed like a catching practice for the New Zealand team as most of the batters were out in the deep trying to force the pace and failing miserably. There were 54 dot balls which meant that India didn’t score any runs in nine of their 20 overs.
There were no demons on the track but India’s shoddy show with the willow is a consequence of poor team selection, not relying on form players and the failure to have any flexibility in the side, which lacked proper multi-skilled cricketers.
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And true to ‘Murphy’s Law’ (it states “anything that can go wrong will go wrong”), it caught up with the team.
For example, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli both lost form at the same time. The middle-order, which was a worry, remained so and Hardik Pandya as a batter completely flopped on big days.
But the biggest of them all was how a country whose players are considered champion players of spin bowling looked clueless against the slow stuff.
Just like the Pakistan game, the spinners — left-arm orthodox Mitchell Santner (4-0-15-0) and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi (4-0-17-2) — caught India by the scruff of their necks, giving away only 32 runs in eight overs.
India tweaked their batting order but it hardly paid any dividends as there was no firepower in the power play and 40 for 3 within eight overs could have only spelt doom.
Ishan Kishan tried to whip one off Trent Boult (4-0-20-3) but was caught at deep square leg boundary by Santner.
KL Rahul (18) hit a couple of boundaries but not for a moment during his 16-ball stay at the crease did he look confident enough to take on the bowlers.
Tim Southee (4-0-26-1), at the stroke of power play, exposed his problems against short ball as the pull-shot was collected by Santner, who got his second of the night.
Rohit Sharma (14) first got a reprieve with a compulsive pull-shot that was dropped by Adam Milne at backward square leg.
Then, when Milne came into the attack, he slashed one over point for a four and whipped another over square leg for a six. When Ish Sodhi pitched one slightly on the shorter length, he tried to pull it in front of square but was caught by a tumbling Martin Guptill, who judged it well enough to make it 40 for three.
Kohli, who of late is playing the role of an anchor, never got going and during his laboured presence at the wicket only increased the pressure on the team.
Sodhi tossed one conventional leg-break outside the off-stump and the Indian captain, trying to hit against the turn, could only find Boult at the long-on boundary.
Pandya (23 off 24 balls), in his current form, is not a threat for any team and Rishabh Pant, after being kept quiet by the two Black Caps spinners, got one fast and straight from Milne, which breached his defence.
Once Pant was gone, the chance of a decent fighting total was also thrown out of the Dubai International Stadium, and into the Arabian Sea.
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