It was early morning India When Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill came down to bat in their first international match against New Zealand at Eden Park on Friday. The inaugural Indian team produced a power packed display to give countless cricket fans a strong start to the day. Dhawan and Gill put together a solid partnership of 124. Shreyas Iyer later joined the run with 80 off just 76 balls. The Men In Blue eventually managed an impressive total of 306 thanks to an impressive contribution from Washington Sundar. Well, surprise. Surprise. Tom Latham had the last laugh. The Kiwi wicket-keeper made a century to take his side to a 1-0 lead. At one point, during the game, we couldn’t help but agree with Harsha Bhogle when he said, “There are only gaps in the field when Tom Latham hits.”
According to Tom Latham, it was “just one of those days when it all comes together.” The outcome of the 50-plus match certainly speaks to New Zealand’s caliber. The Kiwi wicket-taker slammed 19 boundaries and five sixes to remain unbeaten at 145. “Just one of those days when it all comes down to it. Having a little fun at the end… It was good to put the ball in the gaps and run hard. I think the preparation was nice…”
Tom Latham did not fail to appreciate the partnership with captain Kane Williamson,
who failed in six runs to cross the 100 mark during his innings. “A great partnership with Kane, who played beautifully,” he said.
While Tom Latham’s match-winning show rightly took the spotlight, we certainly couldn’t miss the phenomenal performance produced by India’s highest-ranking performer.
Kiwi captain Kane Williamson won the toss and decided to bowl first. It would be too simplistic to say that the decision backfired. A total of over 300 matches against the bowling group, which includes names like Tim Southee, Lucky Ferguson and Adam Milne, will never be less than par. Nicknamed ‘Gabbar’, India’s captain summed it up perfectly after the match.
“I really enjoy playing here. I would have been happier if we had won but that’s an integral part. They are all young boys and a lot to learn from them.
In the bowling section, he said, “We bowled a lot at short, and Latham batted. We mishandled a few balls. But as I said, we were very close to Latham, and that’s where he hit the match. He hit four boundaries in Forty, and that’s where the game turned. Definitely a lot of learning for the boys.”
During the match, Team India seemed to strongly feel the need to have a strong character in the multiplayer category. They needed someone who could shine with the bat and pick up wickets in tough situations, someone like Ravindra Jadeja. The finesse of Imran and Arshdeep was never in doubt, but the absence of a sixth bowling option was certainly a fatal blow. Even Washington Sundar’s gorgeous cameo wasn’t enough to see the side sail.
Indian batsman Shreyas Iyer also pointed out their inability to break the crucial partnership.
“They played great shots. They knew which players to target at a specific time. The way Latham took it, I think completely shifted the momentum towards them. He wanted to come in and build that partnership. Since they’ve played together for so many years, I’m sure they know.” Their strengths and weaknesses up close.That partnership completely changed the scenario of the game.That was the crucial stage for us to get wickets.If we had a wicket we would have gotten under their skin.It could have been a completely different situation.Kudos to them for finding that strength during that stage And turning those loose balls into great borders and jackets,” Iyer said after the game.
The Indian team management wanted to explore multiple options in the ODI series against New Zealand. He believed that crucial performances in the form of the over fifty would help the young Indian players emerge as top contenders for the Globalism Trophy team. But does this defeat destroy India’s plans? Well, absolutely not. It is still too early to think about the 2024 World Cup. Iyer expressed a similar opinion.
We must be optimistic. I don’t like to think about the future. I can only control my training now and perform it consistently. I like to live in the present. Players will come and go. But consistency will be important. This is my mentality now. There will be ups and downs,” said the Mumbai-born batsman.
The second ODI is scheduled to be played on Sunday at Seddon Park in Hamilton. Shikhar Dhawan’s men will now be looking for a resounding comeback in the penultimate match to survive the series. Will India be able to get rid of Blinder? Well, they’ve been there and done that.
Catch the ODIs on 27th & 30th November with coverage starting at 6am IST, LIVE and exclusively on Prime Video.
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