India vs New Zealand: Navdeep Saini’s cameo in Auckland leaves Virat Kohli impressed
India fast bowler Navdeep Saini showcased his talent with the bat in the 2nd ODI against New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland, as he hammered 45 runs in 48 balls. The right-hander came out to bat when India were reeling at 153/7 in the 32nd over in 274-run chase. Saini struck around in the middle with Ravindra Jadeja and stitched a 76-run partnership for the 8th wicket. In his innings, Saini hammered five fours and two sixes and reignited India’s hopes.
In the 44th over, Saini slammed Colin de Grandhomme for three back-to-back fours. In the next over, he struck Kyle Jamieson for a huge six which left skipper Virat Kohli mighty impressed. Kohli stood up in awe and gave a round of applause to the tailender. But on the next ball, Jamieson went with a slower one and Saini was cleaned up.
This was Saini’s highest total in any class of cricket. His previous best was 42* he made for Delhi against Orissa in January 2015 at the Ranji Trophy. This is also the 5th highest score batting at 9 for India in the ODIs, only after JP Yadav (69), Praveen Kumar (54*), Madan Lal (53*) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (53*).
After the 22-run defeat in the match, Kohli praised Saini for his efforts. Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, Kohli said: “We were in trouble with the bat, but Saini and Jadeja played really well, as did Shreyas.”
He added: “It’s upto the individuals to fight till the end. We didn’t send them any messages, because those aren’t what your instincts are telling you to do. We didn’t know how good Saini could be with the bat, so if the lower order could be that good, then it inspires the middle order and the top order to step it up too.”