It was a morale-boosting win for New Zealand before the World Twenty20. As the series progressed, the Kiwis adapted better to the conditions. It was a good show at Bangalore after their ordinary display in Hyderabad and they capped it off with a tight win in Chennai.
For the Kiwis, Brendon McCullum was the star. He didn't have a good Test series but made up for it on Tuesday. It was a good knock considering that New Zealand didn't get off to a good start and none of the others could really make a big impact. Brendon took on the Indian bowling and it was due to his belligerent knock and a late surge by Ross Taylor and Jacob Oram that New Zealand reached around the 170-mark.
The Indian bowling was organised but gave away a bit in the face of McCullum's onslaught. I believe India could have added another bowler instead of playing eight batsmen.
With Irfan Pathan in fine form, Dhoni could have added one more spinning option. Many will wonder whether Dhoni was right fielding first but I would say it was a correct decision, considering he had eight batsmen. The Chennai track was also good for T20. India were cruising along but lost their way and the game between the 14-17 overs, when they could score only 17 runs. It was one bad day for Dhoni, who in this format is a terrific finisher. The Kiwis also bowled cleverly around this time, slowing down and varying the pace.
It was an emotional comeback for Yuvraj Singh and it was really a different feeling to watch him in action after a long time, having come out of the toughest phase of his life. I found him to be in the right frame physically and mentally. He had initial stiffness but as the game progressed, he looked in perfect shape.
He fielded well, bowled with normal rhythm and his batting was apt for the situation. The power, flair of the bat swing and the knack to hit long sixes was all evident. Many still doubt whether Yuvi's body will be able to stand-up to the grind of matches to follow, especially in a World Cup. I feel it will only get better. A sportsman's body will surely thrive in the atmosphere for which it is suited the most.
The writer is a former India captain.