Resilient India demolish Kiwi credentials with ease
The eight-wicket defeat in the fifth and final ODI match could, at its extreme, be considered an aberration in what has been a glorious run for Indian cricket team this summer.
<p>The eight-wicket defeat in the fifth and final ODI match could, at its extreme, be considered an aberration in what has been a glorious run for Indian cricket team this summer.</p> <p>Encouragingly, Team India's record can only get better and better over the next three weeks, though autumn has set in the southern hemisphere.</p> <p>The <a href="http://cricket.ndtv.com/cricket/ndtvcricket/storypage/ndtv/id/spoen20090087471/Highlights_India_vs_New_Zealand,_Auckland_ODI.html">3-1 series triumph</a> in the one-day series was achieved with consummate ease, akin to the West Indies sweeping their rivals aside during their halcyon days. There was aggression and supreme self-belief as India went about demolishing New Zealand's limited-overs credentials, match after match. <em>(Pic: AFP)</em><br /> </p>
<p>It didn't come as a surprise that Andy Moles admitted that his side was outplayed by the Indians in the ODI series, attributing the Kiwi decimation to <a href="http://cricket.ndtv.com/cricket/ndtvcricket/playerprofile.aspx?player_ID=270&type=main">Virender Sehwag</a>, who aggregated a whopping 299 runs (averaging 74.75) in the five-match series. </p> <p>Sehwag did put the fear of God in the Kiwis' heart, but it would be unfair to suggest that he alone steered the Indian juggernaut which ruthlessly steamrollered the Black Caps. </p> <p>There were contributions with the bat from <a href="http://cricket.ndtv.com/cricket/ndtvcricket/playerprofile/ndtv/player_id/2962/type/main/playerprofile.html">Sachin Tendulkar</a>, who was in imperious form before an abdomen injury laid him low; Suresh Raina, who struck the ball with impunity, and skipper <a href="http://cricket.ndtv.com/cricket/ndtvcricket/playerprofile/ndtv/player_id/3676/type/main/playerprofile.html">Mahendra Singh Dhoni</a>, who led from the front with calmness associated with a sage. </p> <p>Tendulkar carved 244 runs from three visits to the square, a magnificent 163 (retd hurt) manifesting that he has some more years of cricket left in him, despite lasting a phenomenal 20 years on the international circuit. <em>(Pic: AP)</em></p>
<p><a href="http://origin.cricket.ndtv.com/cricket/ndtvcricket/playerprofile.aspx?player_ID=3700&type=main">Suresh Raina</a> only reaffirmed his ability to win matches, batting with a cool head when the chips were down and ripping the rival attack apart when the team required him to accelerate. His agility in the field, lifted the bowlers' confidence, as he would swoop down on the ball in a jiffy to challenge the batsmen from stealing a run from him.</p> <p>His outstanding work at covers only highlighted the inadequacy of the rest of his team mates on the field, something which India need to improve if they aspire to retain the T20 World Cup this summer in England and regain the Cup that Kapil's devils had won in 1983.</p> <p>Yuvraj Singh continued his six-hitting spree, setting the stands on fire during his 100-ball, 138-run association with Tendulkar, when India ran up an intimidating 392. But he lacked consistency, something which marks a special player from the rest. <em>(Pic: AP)</em></p>
<p><a href="http://cricket.ndtv.com/cricket/ndtvcricket/playerprofile/ndtv/player_id/3855/type/main/playerprofile.html">Praveen Kumar</a> did a wonderful job in <a href="http://cricket.ndtv.com/cricket/ndtvcricket/playerprofile/ndtv/player_id/3899/type/main/playerprofile.html">Ishant Sharma's</a> absence, supporting Zaheer Khan with seam and swerve. Though the conditions suited him, it must be appreciated that he used it to the hilt. </p> <p><a href="http://cricket.ndtv.com/cricket/ndtvcricket/playerprofile/ndtv/player_id/1717/type/main/playerprofile.html">Zaheer</a> played the role of a mentor to a calming Ishant Sharma's nerves when he returned from an injury break for the fourth and fifth ODIs at Hamilton and Auckland. He may not have been amongst the wickets, but his influence on the field was infectious.</p> <p>Harbhajan Singh was at his niggardly best, tying down the restless Kiwis to the crease, producing an over hat-trick at Napier. Yusuf Pathan too did pretty well in the limited opportunities that he enjoyed during the series. <em>(Pic: AP)</em></p>
<p>Overall, the Indian performance was emphatic and fascinating, indicating that this team of achievers was a cut above the rest in international cricket, though South Africa and Australia could contest this argument.</p> <p>India beat Australia down under in early 2008, but had suffered a 4-0 defeat in the African land some 28 months ago.</p> <p>Now, this Indian team is probably the best to set foot on a cricket field since Kapil Dev's legion turned the tables upon the West Indies at Lord's. It could only gain in momentum from now on, if the selectors, put their parochialism aside, and pick the best side in the interest of Indian cricket.</p> <p>A Ravindra Jadeja, who showed attitude and pluck during his T20 debut, and Uttar Pradesh's Praveen Kumar, who has the makings of a good all-rounder, could only enrich a team that has been on a roll over the last 18 months. Dhoni would certainly want them on his team. <em>(Pic: AP)</em></p>