In one-dayers, where MS Dhoni demands athleticism and sharp catching, Amit Mishra can sometimes stick out like a sore thumb. When bowling in full flow though, there is no one as classical as Mishra. That came to his rescue after he almost dropped the match.
Mishra’s stock as a fielder hit rock bottom when he failed to track an incoming ball that fell at least two yards in front of the boundary rope. Unfortunately for Kedar Jadhav, who was hoping to add the big scalp of Martin Guptill to his bulging tally of wickets, Mishra didn’t pedal back enough to line up for what should have been a simple catch. This came well after he had dropped Guptill on 29, though it was a much more difficult chance.
It didn’t affect Dhoni’s bowling plans surrounding Mishra though. Knowing well that Mishra likes to toss up the ball irrespective of the situation of the game, Dhoni was willing to gamble with him in the later stages. Having bowled a first spell of 3-0-9-0, Mishra didn’t let down his captain when he came to bowl again. His seven-over spell from the 32nd over till the 44th was one of the main reasons why the brakes were successfully applied on New Zealand’s scoring.
Mishra didn’t relent from inviting the batsmen to drive despite getting hit for boundaries in consecutive overs. Now and then he also slipped in the shorter ones. That did the trick against New Zealand captain Kane Williamson as he fell for a wide ball that he wanted to cut but got an edge instead. Next over, Mishra again bowled a faster, flatter delivery that James Neesham tried to hit through cover but ended up giving a low catch to Virat Kohli.
Visually, his best over was the last one where he couldn’t refrain from teasing Ross Taylor and BJ Watling with a few tossed up deliveries outside off with a googly in between. Mishra couldn’t take a wicket in that over but by then he had more than made up for his mistake.