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Beaten black & blue, MSD's men regroup

cricket Updated: Aug 12, 2010 00:27 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Apart from the first 10 overs of the opening encounter in the tri-series against New Zealand, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men never looked to be dominating proceedings.

And well before Ashish Nehra drove Kyle Mills straight to Jacob Oram at mid-off, with more than 20 overs to spare, to concede India's fourth-highest defeat in terms of runs, the writing was always on the wall.

No doubt Kiwi skipper Ross Taylor and Scott Styris rescued their team with a matchwinning partnership of 190 runs for the fourth wicket. But looking at India's mediocre performance with the ball and in the field, it did seem like India had underestimated an inexperienced New Zealand bunch, with the team missing Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder.

Kiwi all-rounder Nathan McCullum admitted that their dressing room was surprised with India's performance.

"I was a bit surprised with the score that they came up with the end. But it was a game where we played exceptional cricket," said Nathan. "We batted very well, we were in a pretty tough position and we had a fantastic partnership between Ross and Scott and we finished it off."

"With the bowlers, it was a team effort and everyone came in and did things well and bowled very well and we caught well," said the New Zealand offspinner after an optional practice session on Wednesday. "It was a great day, really."

Dhoni, however, denied that they had underestimated Taylor and Co. "Most of the guys who performed in this game were experienced, players whom we have met a lot of times in the past. So I don't think we were taken by surprise," Dhoni said after the match.

The loss also meant India had conceded their No. 2 world ranking to New Zealand in ODIs. However, with the ranking charts likely to change drastically after each of the six remaining encounters in the tournament, nothing much should be read into it till the final on August 28. The Indian bunch would have loved to make the most of their five-day break before the next match with an overnight outing to one of nearby picnic spots. But after a defeat as humiliating as the one on Tuesday, don't be surprised if all 15 members are in attendance for Thursday's "optional" practice session.