One defeat shouldn’t really lead to too many raised eyebrows, as crediting the opposition for its successful execution of plans is equally important.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Latham and captain Kane Williamson were simply outstanding in helping New Zealand chase down a formidable 307-run target, braving a troublesome situation in the first ODI in Auckland on Friday.
That said, India do need to buck up, especially when it comes to their bowling.
In order to restore parity and keep the series alive, the bowlers have to put in a better effort in the second and penultimate ODI at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Sunday.
India had New Zealand wobbling at 88 for 3 in the 20th over.
Yet, the hosts romped home with as many as 17 balls remaining to lead 1-0 in the series.
Agreed, the contrasting approaches of Williamson and Latham worked brilliantly for New Zealand while displaying excellent composure.
Though a tad fortunate at times, Latham already had an impressive record against India in the 50-over format before going into Friday’s contest.
India’s failure in not being able to create pressure on him only raises questions as to whether they did their homework on how to keep the left-handed batsman at bay.
Seddon Park which, just like Auckland’s Eden Park, is not too big a ground either, will also most likely be of greater assistance for batters. That would worry India more as the New Zealanders are well accustomed to the conditions there.
Alongside spinner all-rounder Washington Sundar, pacer Umran Malik was a wee bit impressive with his two wickets though he gave away 66 off his 10 overs. But the other Indian bowlers had a harrowing time.
What the team management could do for the second ODI is include Deepak Chahar in place of left-arm quick Arshdeep Singh, who was the most expensive among India’s bowlers in the previous ODI.
Also, the youngster has been playing non-stop since the T20 World Cup in Australia and could thus be rested for a game at least.
Trying out left-arm chinaman Kuldeep Yadav in leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal’s place is another option.
Batting-wise, there aren’t many concerns for India.
Captain Shikhar Dhawan and his opening partner Shubman Gill gave India a solid start in the first game, while Shreyas Iyer did his best to come up with a retort to those who criticise him for his deficiencies against the short ball.
Besides Shreyas, who topscored with 80, the likes of Sanju Samson and Sundar had contributed as well in critical phases. Suryakumar Yadav though failed to replicate his T20I success into ODIs.