Cricket ODI: New Zealand Win Thriller, India Captain Cool Fails To Finish, And BCCI Jolted!
When your home team loses you always try to find out reasons or issues responsible for that loss and try to justify that had that being different things would have been positive. Although this is a natural reaction of the home team fans, one must take in the overall picture too. There is no denying the fact that New Zealand dished out a professional and gritty performance in the second one day international (ODI) match played in Delhi yesterday against India and won deservedly. The match was an entertainer down the wire as the narrow margin of 6 runs for the win made it abundantly clear.
On a traditionally slow Kotla pitch New Zealand, put into bat by India, did not get bogged down by the early loss of Guptil for a duck, but carried on the momentum with Skipper Kane Williamson hitting a superlative century and contributing for two major partnerships. The Kiwis looked set for a big score, but some tight bowling by Mishra and Bumrah accounted for 6 wickets for just 21 runs at the later stage. Therefore, the final target of 243 set by them seemed not too tall and was considered gettable by the batting might of India. However, spirited bowling and magnificent fielding by the visitors made it difficult for India, and losing wickets at regular intervals India folded up just 6 runs short. It showed the rather over-dependence of the home team on Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli. Rohit Sharma fell cheaply again like in Dharamsala. Matured Pandiya ignited last hopes of an exciting victory, but as he got out in the penultimate over the match was sealed.
The home team fans were rather disappointed ruing the issues they thought responsible for the dramatic loss. Some thought on a traditionally slow turner India should have opted for batting after winning the toss. Then, the looming question of Captain Cool, MS Dhoni still donning the shorter format team cap. He is known to be finisher in such encounters. However, he could not do so yesterday and rather struggled to make 39 runs in as many as 65 balls. When Dhoni came into bat the situation was not that difficult with runs coming quite easily. After the match Dhoni lamented that if any batsman could have batted for few minutes more India could have won. Of course, he is also included in that. Now, rather than blaming Dhoni one must credit the Kiwis for their never-say-die attitude and professionalism. The match was a thriller and had the ups and downs all throughout providing absolute entertainment to all concerned.
New Zealand made the ODI Series level at 1-1 with three matches to go. They lost the Dharamsala match earlier, maybe not quite recovering from the Test whitewash of 3-0 dished out by the Viral Kohli led Test side. More than that, the rollicking Rahane and Kohli partnership made it very easy for India in that first ODI. New Zealand has been a very competitive side in the shorter format and despite the absence of retired Brendon McCullum the side is not weakened. We can look forward to some exciting one day encounters in the coming days. For India Suresh Raina is expected to come back in the next match. However, who will make way for him is not clear, because though Rohit is out of form he is not likely to be dropped, and Kedar Jadhav is playing quite well. Axar Patel could be the option as Raina can also bowl.
Meanwhile, the richest cricket board of the world, BCCI is made to bite the dust by the Supreme Court in regard to Lodha Panel recommendations. The characteristically arrogant Board has been trying to stall the reforms and asked for more time in the last hearing. The Supreme Court has come down heavily on their defiance and today froze all transactions between BCCI and the state cricket associations even stopping release of funds for match purposes till the Board implements the reforms recommended by Lodha Panel. The apex Court also asked Lodha Panel to appoint an independent Auditor to scrutinize BCCI accounts.