|ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, Dubai|
|India 110-7 (20 overs): Jadeja 26* (19); Boult 3-20, Sodhi 2-17|
|New Zealand 111-2 (14.3 overs): Mitchell 49 (35), Williamson 33* (31); Bumrah 2-19|
|New Zealand won by eight wickets|
India’s hopes at the Men’s T20 World Cup are hanging by a thread after New Zealand inflicted a second successive miserable defeat on the pre-tournament favourites.
After a 10-wicket thrashing against rivals Pakistan in their opening game, Virat Kohli’s side were woefully abject again – New Zealand chasing 111 with 33 balls to spare in Dubai.
Put into bat, India lacked intent and crawled to 110-7, only hitting eight fours and two sixes to all but silence an Indian-dominated crowd.
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja top-scored with an unbeaten 26 from 19 balls, while left-armer Trent Boult took 3-20 and leg-spinner Ish Sodhi 2-17 for New Zealand.
Jasprit Bumrah removed Martin Guptill for 20 but Daryl Mitchell, who made 49 off 35 balls, shared 72 with Kane Williamson.
Williamson finished 33 not out as New Zealand picked up their first win and severely dented the hopes of star-studded India.
Pakistan lead Group 2 with three wins from three games, while Afghanistan have four points and New Zealand and Namibia both have two points. India and Scotland are pointless.
‘Old-school’ India fail to make grade with bat
India have an embarrassment of riches and power when it comes to batting and that is why they were labelled as favourites pre-tournament by England captain Eoin Morgan.
Yet they posted a below-par score against Pakistan and this was another shockingly subdued effort, despite a slow and tricky pitch.
In stark contrast to England’s blistering win over Australia on Saturday, India were happy to block at the start before three really tame dismissals left them 40-3 halfway through the eighth over.
Ishan Kishan was caught on the square-leg boundary, KL Rahul was caught pulling and Rohit Sharma, who was demoted from opener for just the third time in 77 Twenty20 internationals, flat-batted to long-on for 14.
It left Kohli and Rishabh Pant to rebuild, but they were cautious too and happy to just rotate the strike. Kohli then holed out to long-on off Sodhi for just nine.
Pant and Hardik Pandya curbed their naturally aggressive instinct and India’s lack of intent and strategy perplexed as 71 balls passed without a boundary through the middle overs.
It was only Jadeja, who managed to hit two fours and one six, who showed any positivity and desire to haul India to a competitive total.
Former England all-rounder Ravi Bopara, who was part of the commentary team on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, said India were playing “old-school cricket”.
“There was no urgency to score,” he added. “You can’t just hit yourself out of trouble in Dubai – you’ve got to start aggressively and score runs.
“There looks to be a few nerves, like they are under pressure to perform and of the favourites tag.”
How can India progress?
India are not completely out of contention but face a difficult equation to qualify.
They must beat Afghanistan on Wednesday to have any chance. Their most likely route would come if Afghanistan then beat New Zealand on 7 November.
Even were that to happen, India would also need to win their games against Scotland and Namibia, and overhaul Afghanistan and New Zealand’s net run-rate.
India could progress if New Zealand beat Afghanistan but it would require the Black Caps to lose to either Scotland or Namibia.
For India to go through, New Zealand and Afghanistan must lose one of their remaining games.
Black Caps produce solid all-round display
New Zealand and Williamson have a habit of getting the better of India and Kohli in recent times. They did so in the semi-final of the 50-over World Cup in 2019 and beat them in the World Test Championship final this summer.
Those results should have had little impact on this game, but it felt like the Black Caps thrived on that confidence while India were fragile.
The Kiwis were superb with the ball. They had clearly done their homework and identified weaknesses in the India batters, but they have the skill and mentality to produce ball after ball.
They offered little width, no freebies and their ground fielding was perfect. The only blemishes came when Adam Milne dropped Rohit at fine leg and Sodhi put down Jadeja off the final ball of the innings.
Batting was slightly easier for them with dew starting to fall, but that does not excuse India’s efforts – a total of 110 will not win you games at this level.
The Black Caps were sensible at the start, rotating and putting the bad balls away, before Mitchell showed his aggressive nature to smash four fours and three sixes. The game was won when he hit Bumrah to long-on with 15 needed.
Williamson played his natural game by working the ball around the ground, with his trademark steer to third man particularly rewarding.
New Zealand will believe they have put themselves in the box seat to seal a final-four spot.
‘We were not brave enough’ – what they said
India captain Virat Kohli: “I thought we were not brave enough with bat or ball. New Zealand had better intensity and body language and put us under pressure from the first ball onwards. That happens in T20 cricket and is most often a result of hesitation with the bat.
“There’s only one way to play T20 cricket, you have to be positive and take calculated risks. Just because you are the Indian cricket team does not mean you have to play the format differently. You need to take some pride in your game.”
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson: “It was a fantastic all-round performance against a formidable Indian outfit. Today a number of things went our way and we were very clinical in all facets.”