Two men, on different ends of the spectrum, displayed an array of fine performances in New Zealand's surprising and yet convincing 4-0 ODI series win over India. What was not surprising, however, was the rich vein of form that senior-pro Ross Taylor and young Kane Williamson were in.
If these two men could ply their trade in the world of art, Williamson would be a budding painter with a keen sense of colours. He would be one who wields his brush with an aim to paint a masterpiece with each attempt. Taylor, on the other hand, would be an experienced campaigner with many-a-colourful canvases and still possess the urge and drive to produce a vibrant piece of work.
At a time when taking the aerial route has become a habit rather than luxury for batsmen, Williamson restores some method in the widely growing madness. His old school approach of leaving the good deliveries and approaching the bad ones with a straight bat, makes him a delightful batsman to watch. One could be fooled into making an assumption that Williamson is sometimes out of place in a format where the definition of a good total has changed with time and demands more from the batsmen. An astute cricketing mind allows Williamson to play perfectly well to a situation. With his head firmly placed on his shoulders, Williamson clearly seems to possess the technique and the temperament to fit into any situation with ease. All this at the age of 23 makes his story even more enchanting.
His senior partner Ross Taylor comes with a far bigger reputation. Often deemed as a big-match player, Taylor, with his ability to chase improbable totals as well as build foundations for one, has been the go-to man for the Kiwis for quite sometime now.
Beneath that child-like face that wears a smile at every opportunity, lies a steely never-say-die character that has kept him going despite a few roadblocks on the way. Not very long ago - in 2012, Taylor lost his captaincy in what became a public spat between him and the bosses at New Zealand Cricket as he accused them of lying about the process of relieving him of the captaincy. He opted out of the South African tour that followed but was quick to accept the board's apology and make truce to return to action, after which he has seldom looked back.
To say that these two have been New Zealand's backbone in each of their four wins against India would be a gross understatement. With partnerships of 120,60,130 and 152 in five games, it was evident that the duo was destined to bat together and play to perfection.
An ODI series win against heavyweights India doesn't just add an extra spring in the step for New Zealand ahead of the two-match Test series, but also gives their fans a lot of hope and optimism for the ICC World Cup next year. New Zealand have always been a strong side in major tournaments but their inability in the knockout stages has earned them the reputation and the title of the 'also-rans.'
With the amount of solidity that Taylor and Williamson provide at the top of the order, the Kiwis have a good chance to upset a few more big-wigs in the World Cup next year.