India Vs New Zealand T20 Cricket: The Tying Spree & The Indian Glee!

Two days back I wrote ‘You hardly come across tied T20I matches…!’ now; circumstances force me to cancel that kind of condescending writing style and write ‘the tying spree…’! Because, after the Hamilton tie you get on your platter another Wellington tie—the second successive tie with, as usual, New Zealand snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and India winning again in the super over. Thus, winning the Wellington 4th T20I match today Team India makes it 4-0 in the five-match Series. Hamilton: the Kiwis win toss, elect to field first, India set a target of 179, New Zealand lose two wickets in the 20th over, fail to score 2 runs off 4 balls and ties the match at 179; in the super over New Zealand set a target of 18 runs, India overhaul it winning the match and the Series. Wellington: the Kiwis win toss, elect to field first, India set a target of 166 runs, New Zealand lose four wickets in the 20th over, fail to make 20 runs off 21 balls with seven wickets standing at one stage; in the super over New Zealand set a target of 14 runs, India overhaul easily winning the match and taking the lead to 4-0. In both cases the graph is similar with equally inexplicable batting rigmarole of the Kiwis. Anyway, Indian fans rejoice again, not as much for making it 4-0 as getting the excitement of an unexpected tie for the second time in succession.

India looked to be suffering from a ‘defeat wish’ from the very beginning today: as expected after winning the Series they experimented with abandon—dropping a batsman in the most explosive form (Rohit) or rather ‘resting him’ as they say and more set players being rested  making way for the IPL talents (as for your innocent query as to why Indian cricket superstars need so much rest the Indian team management would not be able to give a suitable reply); then they suffer a batting collapse with only Manish Pandey (50 not out) giving some semblance of respect in setting the final target of 165/8. With two of the Indian top-form bowlers including the gamechanger Shami in Hamilton being rested too, it was New Zealand’s game, overwhelmingly. And, cruising at 159 for just 3 the Kiwis looked to have the first winning taste in this series. However, it was not to be: both of the set batsmen—Munro (64) and Seifert (57)—got run-out at important junctures. And then, the 20th over: what Shami did in Hamilton, player-of-the-match Shardul Thakur did in Wellington; as in Hamilton Taylor paved the way for defeat by getting out—this time to Thakur, then the crucial run-out of Seifert, next Thakur gets Mitchell out caught and the last ball saw the run-out of Santner. So, in the 20th over the Kiwis lost 4 wickets including 2 run-outs instead of simply getting the 7 runs required. There were 3 run-outs in the NZ innings speaking volumes for the spirited Indian fielders.

Apart from the bounty of 2 successive ties, Team India, it needs to be mentioned, shows a new kind of resolve to get back into a match from any situation and finally winning it—be it in the super over or otherwise. This new-found spirit augurs well for the team in the coming T20 World Cup in Australia. However, this result does not justify the mindless experimentation, and blindly trying out the so-called IPL talents. Such experimentation didn’t help the team in winning the one-day World Cup-2019 and many of the then-experimented players now languish in the dumps, several veterans being ignored continuously. It is also interesting to note that now; India is winning more with only a make-shift wicket-keeper in the team than 4 wicket-keepers in a playing eleven in many of the earlier short-format matches!


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