A single partnership could have helped India recover against Kiwis

  • Sanjjeev K Samyal
  • Updated: Mar 16, 2016 11:37 IST
Luke Ronchi dislodges the bails as Rohit Sharma looks on. (Pratham Gokhale/HT)

On big match days, getting to and then getting out of the Vidarbha Cricket Stadium at Jamtha from the Nagpur city can really test your patience. The closer the start gets, the length of traffic jam increases and the earlier you leave at the finish, the longer the time you spend on the road.

It’s certainly not a smooth ride. It was bumper to bumper situation at the highway stretch from the VCA Stadium leading to the city. After all this effort, to have a game like on Tuesday, where your team folds up for just 79 runs, imagine the frustration of the spectators.

Unfortunately, both World Cup games involving India at this stadium have caused heartburn for their supporters. For the second time, India lost the game from a winning position. In the 2011 World Cup they had committed hara-kiri against South Africa to fritter away a great start by Sachin Tendulkar; this time against New Zealand they wasted a fine bowling performance.

After restricting New Zealand to a total of 126 for seven, India should have easily wrapped up full points from their opening 2016 ICC World Twenty20 game. Instead, the Nagpur crowd watched in utter disbelief as their batsmen showed a complete lack of application to crash to a humiliating 47-run defeat.

One decent partnership at the top of the order would have been enough to put the pressure back on New Zealand. However, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina fell to soft dismissals. India never recovered from 12 for three.

On the match eve, Virat Kohli had touched upon the importance of the top order in setting up the tone for the game for a simple reason that the middle and the lower-order hardly had a decent outing due to India’s dominance in the run-up to the tournament. The worst fears came true when Yuvraj, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin struggled for rhythm when the onus finally fell on them.

Skipper MS Dhoni blamed the lack of partnerships and soft dismissals for the debacle. “I think the dismissals of our batsmen, there were quite a few soft dismissals. And there were no partnerships at all which was what needed when you have to score125 odd runs while chasing. We all knew the wicket was slightly on the slower side but the good thing is we still restricted them to good score. I think 140 would have been a par score on this wicket, so bowlers did a good job while restricting them to 126,” said Dhoni.

India’s 79 all out is their second-lowest T20 total ever. And, it is their fifth defeat in as many games against New Zealand. It puts the team under tremendous pressure as India in all likelihood will have to win all their matches from now on to qualify for the semifinals. With Australia, Pakistan and Bangladesh in their group, it’s not going to be easy.

Watch: What’s important is to fight back, says Dhoni after losing WT20 opener

The only solace for the Nagpur people would be that the players too got the tedious experience of the pain they take to travel to the ground on match days, when the team bus was stuck for nearly half an hour on the highway on the way back.

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