It was a must win game for India and the boys didn’t disappoint. After the shocking Mumbai loss, Virat Kohli and Co bounced back in Pune with an impressive six-wicket win to level the series 1-1.
After being asked to bowl first, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah impressed with their lethal bowling as India restricted the Kiwis to 230 on a slowish track. In reply, Shikhar Dhawan and the new No. 4 batsman Dinesh Karthik struck fifties to keep the series alive.
Here are three big talking points from the Pune ODI.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s sensational spell
19 overs, 112 runs and two wickets: Mumbai
20 overs, 83 runs and five wickets: Pune
Bhuvi and Bumrah’s combined performance in Mumbai and Pune had a major influence on the outcome of the matches. While the pair struggled to keep New Zealand batsmen in check in the first ODI, the sensational opening spell at Pune set the tone for the match.
Bhuvneshwar in particular was super impressive with his probing bowling. In his opening spell, the pacer removed both the openers to reduce Kiwis to 27/3 at one point on a pitch which was expected to suit batters.
After the initial heroics, the fast bowler returned towards the end to break the crucial partnership between Henry Nicholls and Colin de Grandhomme to restrict the opponents to a meager total. His match figures: 10-45-3.
Spin web binds Kiwis
Along with the pacers, spinners also disappointed at the Wankhede as Tom Latham and Ross Taylor swept them out of the game. Considering that spinners bowl the bulk of overs and mostly during the middle overs, it was pivotal that they soon find their lost touch.
Skipper Kohli made the necessary changes. With Kuldeep Yadav making way for Axar Patel and Kedar Jadhav bowling 8 overs on the day, especially after he wasn’t used at all in the first ODI. Axar removed last match’s centurion – Latham, Chahal got rid of Grandhomme and Adam Milne, while Jadhav leaked only 31 runs in his eight overs. Spin stranglehold never allowed Kane Williamson’s side to get free and also picked up crucial wickets.
Dinesh Karthik: The new No. 4
The search for a proper number 4 batsman has been on for a long. Numerous heavyweights including Yuvraj Singh, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey and Jadhav have been tried out but the vacancy is still up. The situation, however, could change if the new experiment – Karthik – continues his good form.
Asked to bat at number 4, the Tamil Nadu batsman played a mature knock of 64 off 92 deliveries to take India to victory. While one good innings is too little to settle the matter, the knock should ensure that DK gets more opportunity in the near future.
What was also important that Karthik was there in the middle till the end. His talent has never been in question, it’s his temperament which has disappointed selectors at times.
Feature image: BCCI