New Zealand v India, 2nd ODI: Game abandoned due to persistent rain; Shubman Gill impresses again as an opener. Suryakumar Yadav gets a chance at no. 3.
Brief Scores: India 89/1 in 12.5 overs (Gill 45*, Suryakumar 34*, Henry 1/20) against New Zealand; game abandoned
India took on hosts New Zealand in the second of the three-match ODI series at the Seddon Park in Hamilton on Sunday. The Kiwis have been a tough nut to crack in their own backyard having won all the last 13 ODI games that they have played in New Zealand.
The visitors too have found it hard to go past New Zealand in the ODI format as all the last 5 completed ODIs, including the 2019 Cricket World Cup semi-final clash, have gone in the latter’s favour. Even in the first ODI of the series, NZ stormed past India as the former beat the visitors by 7 wickets with more than two overs to spare.
India put in to bat yet again by Kane Williamson
India, led by Shikhar Dhawan, need to wait for another two days to register a long awaited ODI win against New Zealand as the 2nd game between the sides in Hamilton was washed out due to persistent rain. Only 12.5 overs were possible in the game and India after put in to bat by New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson got off to a steady start, scoring 89/1 when rain eliminated any chance of further play.
A rain break had earlier forced play to stop at the 5-over mark and soon after resumption, Shikhar Dhawan fell to Matt Henry for 3 in what was now reduced to a 29-overs game. Suryakumar Yadav (34* off 25) was promoted to number 3 and after having a look-in during the initial period, he was in his elements. Shubman Gill (45* from 42) too looked all class and was confidently played his strokes. The duo added 66 runs off just 46 balls, before rain interrupted play again, this time for good.
Shubman Gill slowly cementing opener’s spot?
One of the major positives that India can take out of this game is the batting form of Shubman Gill, in the ODI format. He has had a solid start to his 50-overs career, wherein he has scored 674 runs from the 14 innings he has batted thus far. His strike rate is also a touch above 100 at 100.44, and the Punjab batter has four half-centuries & a century (against Zimbabwe) to his kitty.
Gill is someone who is definitely part of India’s plan for the ICC World Cup 2023. Whether he is a first-choice opener even when skipper Rohit Sharma returns, remains to be seen. However, who will be the two openers among the three is a headache that the team management has to ponder over. Till now, the Shikhar-Gill partnership has been really successful and have four century stands in ODI cricket.
Read More: What’s wrong with Rishabh Pant in T20Is?
What happened in the first ODI?
India scored a decent but below par 306/7 in Auckland batting first, courtesy half-centuries from Gill, Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer. However, the Kiwis as they usually do at home, registered an easy win as their senior batting duo of Kane Williamson and Tom Latham anchored the chase in a convincing fashion.
Tom Latham scored a brilliant unbeaten 145 from just 104 balls and along with Kane Williamson who scored 94*, steered the Kiwis to a comfortable win. With the 2nd game ending as abandoned after 12.5 overs, New Zealand skipper Williamson, speaking at the post-match ceremony, highlighted his unbroken 221-run partnership with Tom Latham the other day.
Williamson said, “Latham played a fantastic innings. A nice partnership, important in the context of the match. It was an amazing innings, Looking forward to Christchurch now.”
On being the number 1 ODI side in the world, the NZ skipper said, “Rankings float around a little bit, but at the same time, it recognises the hard work we have been doing. You always try to get better, and everyone you come against are tough. You don't think about such things though. A good team performance in the first ODI. Having said that the attempt is to do what the team requires, and the last one was like that.”
He also lauded senior pacer Tim Southee who took his 200th ODI wicket in the last game, and in the process, became the first bowler to complete the treble of 100 T20I, 200 ODI and 300 Test wickets. Williamson acknowledged the feat by saying, “Amazing player for us across formats. We have been celebrating a number of milestones for him. His longevity and staying on the park and being a leader of the group is nice. Not many people have achieved what he has.”
Both the captains had their say on the weather conditions. This is the second game during India’s ongoing tour that has been abandoned due to rain. Williamson said, “A bit disappointing, the weather seems to be following us. But we did well to get some cricket.”
India skipper Shikhar Dhawan talked about the batting intent shown by the duo of Shubman Gill and Surya, both of whom shared an unbeaten 66-run stand when rain forced an early finish to the game.
“The weather is not in our control. You just have to wait. Cannot help it but now looking forward to the next game. The surface was very good. I thought that the surface would be seaming more, but it was very delightful to see all the batters play with intent,” said Dhawan.
On the exclusion of crowd favourite Sanju Samson, Dhawan defended the move by saying the team combination was taken into consideration to bring in all-rounder Deepak Hooda in place of Samson.
“We wanted the sixth bowler to come in, so we brought Hooda in place of Samson. With (Deepak) Chahar, we wanted to try him and get one more swing bowler, who can trouble the batters.
Shikhar Dhawan spoke highly of youngsters, especially Gill and Umran Malik. He said, “the senior players are resting and the side is already showing a bit of depth. We are quite confident about the youngsters. It is exciting that it makes me feel so young. It is just a good exposure to come in and play in New Zealand, and at the same time, they have been performing so well. Shubman has been batting so well in these conditions, and even Umran Malik was good in the last game.”
Trailing by 1-0, India will face New Zealand in the third match of the series at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on November 30. This will be a day-night fixture and will begin at 7 AM IST.