Dejected after being crushed 0-4 in the ODI series against New Zealand, Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said his team failed to adapt and improvise quickly enough against a side which was consistency personified.
India lost the fifth and final ODI by 87 runs here to go down 0-4 in the five-match series, the third match of which ended in a tie.
“Throughout this series, they (New Zealand) have played very good cricket. Their new ball pair has been very good but where they’ve taken the game away is in the middle overs batting which set up their charge late in the innings, picking up 80-90 runs consistently,” Dhoni said after the drubbing.
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Asked about his own team’s performance, a visibly drained Dhoni said, “It is important to improvise and adapt quickly, which we have failed to do.”
“From the talent point of view these are the players who have done very well in the past, winning the Champions Trophy. But they have to back themselves to play their strokes and the execution was lacking,” he added.
Dhoni said the upcoming two-match Test series, which starts on February 6, would be a tougher challenge for his players.
“It’ll be a bigger test of character in the Test series and it will be good for our younger players. I am looking forward to it,” said Dhoni.
Dhoni’s opposite number Brendon McCullum said it was easily the biggest triumph for the Kiwis in a long time.
“It’s probably the best series win since I have started playing for New Zealand. The boys worked very very hard to pull this off, especially against a tough one-day side like India.
“We saw (debutant pacer) Matt Henry come in and take to it outstandingly, there was Hamish Bennett and Jimmy Neesham and the emergence of Corey Anderson as well. It’s been pretty pleasing to see Kane (Williamson) and Ross (Taylor) score all
those runs,” he said.
“In all the time I’ve seen him play, Ross hasn’t been as good as he’s looked in this series. For a guy who’s young, Kane’s become one of our experienced lads and has been moving from strength to strength,” he added.
Man of the match Ross Taylor, who struck his second successive hundred today, chose to credit Williamson for his performance.
“The way Williamson’s batted, five fifties in a row, he has done a wonderful job for us. We play different games. I scored a little quicker and then he caught up later and 300 was always going to be difficult to score,” he said, reflecting on today’s game.
“It’s a good sign that the new players come in and do well. Henry has a good future after this performance. India will come back hard in the Tests and we’ll be ready for them but we will enjoy this victory tonight,” he stated.