Ind vs NZ, ODIs 2023, Takeaways: India’s upper order fires but middle order seems bogged down
Updated: Jan 27
India vs New Zealand, ODIs 2023, Top Takeaways: India’s upper order fires but middle order seems bogged down. Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj shine among the bowlers.
With India performing a clean sweep over New Zealand in the recently concluded three-match One Day International (ODI) series, India with 114 points have now overtaken England (113 points) to become the top-ranked ODI side.
After their dominance over Sri Lanka, this series served as another opportunity of preparation for the hosts India keeping an eye at the upcoming ICC Men’s ODI World Cup 2023 which is set to begin in October this year.
India fight hard to claim series victory over New Zealand
The first ODI game at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad was a high-scoring one thanks to Shubman Gill’s fiery 208-run knock; however, New Zealand, shouldering on the extraordinary 78-ball 140 from Michael Bracewell almost chased the score. India held their nerves to capture a small 12-run victory. The home side showed pure supremacy in the second ODI at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium in Raipur, winning the game by eight wickets with almost 30 overs to spare.
With an eye of whitewashing the Blackcaps, India again posted a huge score of 385 at the Holkar Stadium in Indore in the third game of the series; there was a period when the visitors were in the hunt but with the fall of regular wickets, India grabbed a 3-0 series victory to become the top-ranked ODI side in the world.
Let’s scan a few takeaways from the three-match ODI series between India and New Zealand.
India’s middle order struggles to score freely
One of the main reasons for England to post those big scores on the board is batting with intent and fire from the top to their lower order and the way their middle order back the upper order’s fierce batting, helps them post those landmark totals.
Both India openers - Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma - have been excellent in the upper order scoring with full power but the middle order has struggled a lot to back their work. In the first ODI game, India scored 60 when they lost their opening wicket at the 12.1 over-mark. The second wicket fell on the score of 88 as Virat Kohli was dismissed in the 16th over of the game. Since then, in the next 14.4 overs, they added 161 runs for the loss of 3 wickets and most of those came from the bat of Shubman Gill. Suryakumar Yadav scored 31 runs in 26 balls while Hardik Pandya recorded just 28 runs in 38 deliveries.
Again in the third ODI, India had a brilliant chance to touch the 400-run mark in their 50-overs. When Gill got out, India had 230 on the board in 28 overs; in the next 14.2 overs, they registered just 83 runs losing four crucial wickets. Ishan Kishan struggled with his 24-ball 17 while Suryakumar Yadav only charged with 14 runs in nine balls, something he needs to address quickly in this format. If he plays more balls, he can score all the shots; this is the slight difference he will face as compared to the shortest format of the game.
Read More: IND v NZ, 1st ODI, 2022-23: Bracewell's 140 at no 7 almost trumps Gill's 208; India win by 12 runs
Gill seals opening spot with Rohit ending century drought
There was a lot of noise over the opening spot of Shubman Gill, especially in the event of Ishan Kishan being dropped after recording a double century against Bangladesh in December 2022. But Gill answered all the questions scoring heavily.
In the first ODI game in Hyderabad, Gill smashed a terrific 208-run knock in just 149 balls with the help of 19 boundaries and nine maximums at a strike rate of 139.60; the way he accelerated at the end of the innings with his sweet timing and power, he has almost proved that he is the best possible option at the moment to be in the opening spot.
Even in the second ODI game, chasing a low score of 109, Gill managed 51 runs in 50 balls with the help of seven boundaries and couple of sixes, while in the third ODI, he backed his earlier performances with another fine 112-run knock in 78 balls thanks to 13 boundaries and five maximums. He finished the three-match series with 360 runs at an average of 180, joining Babar Azam as the highest run-scorer in a three-match Men’s bilateral ODI series.
Rohit Sharma too has made a significant mark in the series; he came up with a few decent knocks in the last few series but the hundred was still missed from his book. But in the third ODI game, Rohit kept himself intact for more time as he smashed a fabulous 101-run knock in 85 balls with the help of nine boundaries and six sixes. With his 30th century, his first since January 2020, he equaled Ricky Ponting in the number of ODI centuries.
But India need to find a way to input someone like Ishan Kishan at the opening spot which is unlikely to happen to say the least, but Kishan will feel more comfortable at that slot.
Read More: Ind vs SL, ODIs: Key Questions - Gill or Kishan for opener’s slot, Rahul or SKY for middle order?
Mohammed Siraj make regular contributions in all phases of the game
One of the main reasons for India to do well in both ODI series played at home this season is the enormous rise of Mohammed Siraj specially in the powerplay and in all other phases of the game. The rise of Siraj has been influenced by his red ball skills.
Since 2022 in ODIs, Siraj has earnt 25 wickets in 20 innings in the powerplay at an average of 13.84 and economy of just 3.76. He has also taken 38 wickets in 20 ODIs since the start of 2022 at an economy rate of 4.43. He is the leading wicket-taker among bowlers from the full member nations of International Cricket Council (ICC) and has also become the new top-ranked ODI bowler in ICC bowler rankings.
During the first ODI game where a total of 686 runs were scored in 99.2 overs on a flat deck at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, Siraj returned with credible figures of 4-46 in 10 overs with two maidens which was by far the best bowling figures in the game as most of the other bowlers from both sides had an economy of over six.
His tight lines and lengths at the start of his bowling spell always make it hard for the batters to score off his bowling and his experience at the death overs restricts the batters from scoring freely against him. Even during the second ODI in Raipur, Siraj had figures of 1-10 in six overs including a maiden as India bundled out the Kiwis for just 108. He finished the series with five wickets in two games at an average of 11.20.
The energy that Siraj brings in his bowing charges the whole team with a new spirit as India will hope that the bowler would keep this form intact till Cricket World Cup 2023.
Read More: Siraj & Kuldeep among top 5 India wicket-takers since 2022; Is the duo a certainty for CWC 2023?
Kuldeep Yadav makes decent mark in the series
One of the positives for India at the start of this new year has been the golden comeback of