Stung by an improved New Zealand the other night, a wary India would like to quickly get their house in order when they square off with Kane Williamson’s boys in the third ODI on Sunday.
While the six-run defeat in Delhi has given India plenty to ponder about, it has also renewed interest in the contest which had been dominated by the home team prior to Thursday, stretching from the one-sided Test series to the first ODI in Dharamsala.
From a New Zealand point of view, a victory was all that they needed after a string of deflating defeats. As a result of their first win on Indian soil in 13 years, one can expect a certain spring in the stride of the visitors when they take the field at the PCA Stadium here.
India, on the other hand, can only blame themselves for suffering a rude shock after failing to chase down a 243-run target, a total they were expected to overhaul with little difficulty.
As captain MS Dhoni put it, the hosts would have won the game had some of their batsmen had made an extra 10-15 runs instead of getting out at crucial junctures.
Ajinkya Rahane, who has got the opportunity to cement his place in the ODI side in the absence of injured Shikhar Dhawan, squandered starts in both the games while opening alongside Rohit Sharma, who would also be keen to be back among the runs after a couple of failures.
Rohit had hurt his biceps during the last game but there hasn’t yet been any news about the extent or seriousness of the injury.
Number four Manish Pandey also need to make an impact after he too could not capitalise on promising starts. In fact, most batsmen got their eye in at Kotla before throwing their wicket away, hurting India’s chances badly.
One of them was number six Kedar Jadhav, who impressed with his 41-run cameo and shared a 66-run fifth wicket stand with Dhoni. Had he been alongside Dhoni for another three-four overs, the outcome of the game could have been different.
Jadhav may get another game tomorrow as there is still no update on Suresh Raina’s health.
With most batsmen not showing the required maturity to bail the team out of a tricky situation, it would be a tad unfair to only point fingers at Dhoni, who was made to work hard for his 39 before falling to a brilliant return catch by Tim Southee.
Feature image source: PTI