New Zealand crumble around Williamson's 118

New Zealand 242 for 9 (Williamson 118, Bumrah 3-35, Mishra 3-60) v India
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Kane Williamson’s boundaries were well calculated as he made his second ODI century as captain, and eighth overall © BCCI

It took five matches, but a New Zealand batsman finally recorded a hundred on this tour. Kane Williamson came to the crease in first over and would’t budge until the 43rd. By that time he had 117 runs off 126 balls. The timing of his wicket, though, gave an opening for India and they were able to restrict the total to 242 for 9.

Besides the fact that his team has been unable to win a single match on tour – they’ve been struggling to come out tops in the toss too – plenty of challenges came Williamson’s way. Not least of which was his own body refusing to cooperate. He began cramping up in the Delhi heat – and it became contagious. His left forearm caught it first, then his right, and at one point he couldn’t even lift a bottle up to drink. But when play resumed, he smacked Hardik Pandya over his head to the long-on fence.

In the past, when faced with such determination, India’s bowlers have been guilty of switching off. But there were two passages of play – the middle overs and then the final 10 – that they simply dominated.

And it was the result of a very simple plan – go after Williamson’s partners. Ross Taylor was worked over so completely that it seemed like the ball had taken a restraining order against the middle of his bat. When it was short and wide, he’d get an inside edge. When it was down leg, he’d miss the flick. He was trying to hit the ball so hard that on one occasion his helmet nearly wobbled off. New Zealand had been chugging along before his entry at the Feroz Shah Kotla – 70 runs in 10 overs between the 11th and 21st. They could only get 37 runs in the next ten overs, at the culmination of which Taylor fell for 21 off 42 balls.

There was only one over that cost more than six in the final 10. Worse, there was only one boundary – off a tailender’s outside edge. The result of India beginning this spell of play by dismissing the set batsman Williamson, and their power hitters Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi in the space of 17 balls.

New Zealand were 158 for 2 in the 31st over. The only impediment to the batsman was that the pitch was slightly slow, but if he could get the ball through the infield, the outfield was quick enough to reward the effort with boundaries. It was an ungainly collapse.

More to follow

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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