Since 2010, India have only lost two bilateral ODI series – against Pakistan and South Africa. They’ve won their last six bilateral series in total. But now they face prospect of having that streak broken and the tally extended to three when the Virat Kohli captained side takes the field on Wednesday against New Zealand in Pune. It may be a curse of a short series that invites pressure after just one defeat but that is exactlly what the hosts face having lost the opener by six wickets.
Not many expected New Zealand to give India a stiff battle in the first ODI but in the end it was more a case of the Kiwis moving to a convincing win and India failing to capitalise on what was a relatively competitive target. Due credit to New Zealand though, specifically Tom Latham and Ross Taylor who notched a 200 run stand for the fourth wicket. They countered the spin threat posed by Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav with utter ease – something their neighbours Australia failed to achieve in their 1-4 series defeat a few weeks ago.
In the batting department, barring Virat Kohli – who scored his 31st ODI century – none of the other Indian batsmen could make the most of a confident start and turn it into big figures. Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan fell to Trent Boult in Mumbai but the duo, and the rest of the team management, would hope for a different outcome in Pune.
The one position which continues to remain a problem with the team working towards 2019 World Cup is the No 4 spot. Since the 2015 World Cup, India have tried 11 options with none sticking. On Sunday, Kedar Jadhav batted at the spot but he failed to make an impact.
India could have had a bigger target but for Dinesh Karthik throwing away his wicket at 37 runs while fordging a 73-run stand with Kohli. MS Dhoni came in next but he too failed to take the scorecard soaring.
Over in the bowling department, the spinners went for a massive 125 runs with just one wicket to celebrate from it. There was no purchase for the seamers either but they are likely to be retained for the second ODI.
The Pune pitch was a belter when India played England and another run feast is expected for Wednesday.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shardul Thakur.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, George Worker and Ish Sodhi.