New Zealand’s spinners took a combined 9-44 as they shocked tournament hosts India in the first game of the ICC World Twenty20’s Super 10 stage.
Eyebrows were raised when seamers Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan were left out but the Kiwis were rewarded for their bold selection as Mitchell Santner, Nathan McCullum and Ish Sodhi bowled them to victory.
Defending 127 on a dramatically turning pitch in Nagpur after Corey Anderson top-scored with 34, New Zealand bowled their opponents out for 79 from the first ball of the penultimate over to win by 47 runs.
Kane Williamson, New Zealand’s new captain since the retirement of their 50-over World Cup inspiration Brendon McCullum, won the toss and chose to bat first.
He was at the non-striker’s end to see his opening partner Martin Guptill loft the first ball for six – before being pinned lbw by Ravichandran Ashwin from the second, which replays suggested was going over the top. A further maximum, from Colin Munro, followed in an eventful first over.
Munro soon chipped Ashish Nehra to extra cover and both Williamson and Anderson survived run-out attemps before the skipper was brilliantly stumped by his opposite number Mahendra Singh Dhoni off a quicker ball from Suresh Raina – who then brilliantly ran out non-striker Ross Taylor off his own bowling to leave the Beige Brigade 61 for four.
@ImRaina doing what he does best in the field
— Jonty Rhodes (@JontyRhodes8) March 15, 2016
Twelve came from the 13th over – only two of them off the bat, as Ravindra Jadeja gave up four runs across three wide balls to add to four byes and two leg byes.
Anderson batted well for his 34 but then missed a ramp shot at Jasprit Bumrah and was bowled through his legs and Santner offered a steepling catch to Dhoni off Jadeja for 17.
Grant Elliott was run out for nine but Luke Ronchi hit four, six and two off the final three balls to finish unbeaten on 21 from 11 balls.
McCullum had Shikhar Dhawan lbw in the first over of India’s reply and Rohit Sharma was stumped by Ronchi off Santner – and when Raina chipped the Worcestershire-bound left-armer to midwicket they were 12 for three inside three overs.
Santner has 2-2 at the end of his first over
— Worcestershire CCC (@WorcsCCC) March 15, 2016
The fourth was not long in coming, Yuvraj Singh driving a simple return catch to McCullum and sent on his way once the umpires had checked for a bumped ball.
Adam Milne began with a no-ball but Dhoni would have been run out off the ensuing free hit had the bowler been able to hold Taylor’s throw. Sodhi’s start was in contrast to Milne’s – his first ball edged to Ronchi by Virat Kohli, who departed for 23.
Hardik Pandya was lbw to Santner and Jadeja fell to Sodhi’s excellent return catch, leaving India 43 for seven, and though Dhoni hoisted Sodhi for six – only the fourth boundary of the innings – the leg-spinner had Ashwin stumped.
Dhoni, on 30, was well caught by McCullum at long-on to give Santner figures of 4-11, adding to Sodhi’s 3-18 and McCullum’s 2-15 before Milne had the final say by bowling Nehra for a duck.