‘Wristies’ Rock Kiwis After Shami Setup, India Bowl NZ Out for 157

Not counting rain-reduced games, this is New Zealand’s lowest total in their last 30 completed ODIs since Mar 2017.

3 min read
Indian players celebrate the fall of Martin Guptill’s wicket during their ODI series opener against New Zealand at Napier.

India’s bowling unit has taken no time to settle in New Zealand, bowling the hosts out for a paltry 157 in the ODI series opener at Napier on Wednesday, 23 January.

Mohammed Shami dented the Kiwi top order with early strikes, before wrist-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav accounted for the middle- and lower-middle order to bundle Kane Williamson’s side out for their lowest total in a completed ODI in 30 matches since March 2017 (not counting rain-curtailed games).

Williamson played a lone hand for New Zealand after having opted to bat first, registering his sixth half-century in as many home one-dayers against India, but none of his teammates were able to provide adequate support.

Kuldeep was the pick of the Indian bowlers with figures of 4/39 – the chinaman bowler bagged the last four Kiwi wickets, including that of Williamson – while Shami picked up 3/19.

‘Wristies’ Rock Kiwis After Shami Setup, India Bowl NZ Out for 157
(Graphic: Shruti Mathur/The Quint)

Shami Fastest Indian to 100 ODI Wickets

371/7, 319/7 and 364/4. These were New Zealand’s scores in three ODIs they had played in 2019 coming into the series.

They might have come against a Sri Lankan side lesser-equipped than India, but Williamson and team would surely have been targetting another 300+ total when they chose to take first strike at a McLean Park wicket with no demons in it.

But they walked into an inspired Shami, delivering a probing opening burst which would see him become the fastest Indian bowler to the milestone of 100 ODI wickets.

Two LBW appeals were made off the first two balls bowled by the 28-year-old – the second of them nearly tempting India into a review after Martin Guptill had shouldered his arms to a good length delivery. Two balls later, Shami had Guptill chopping one onto his stumps for his 100th scalp in the 50-over game.

He followed it up by castling fellow opener Colin Munro in his next over.

Shami’s figures in the first half hour of play read 3-2-5-2; with Bhuvneshwar Kumar disciplined at the other end, the Kiwi scoreboard read only 34/2 after 10 overs.

‘Wristies’ Rock Kiwis After Shami Setup, India Bowl NZ Out for 157
(Graphic: Shruti Mathur/The Quint)

Kuldeep, Chahal Continue to Mystify

One of the tougher decisions faced in recent times by Virat Kohli as an ODI captain, in particular given the absence of Hardik Pandya, is whether to go in with his two ‘wristies’ or not.

The lack of the ‘balance’ provided by Pandya has worked in favour of Ravindra Jadeja, who has been a regular fixture since the Asia Cup in September. But aided by Vijay Shankar’s presence as the seam-bowling all-rounder, Kohli chose to throw the twin-threat of Kuldeep and Chahal upon New Zealand in the series opener – he may find it difficult to go any other way for the remainder of the contest.

While Kuldeep finished with the more impressive figures, Chahal provided arguably the more telling strikes. Buoyed by the high of recording the best-ever figures by any bowler in ODIs in Australia less than a week ago, the leg-spinner dismissed the in-form Ross Taylor in his third over.

Two overs later, he had Tom Latham – mighty impressive against spin when the Kiwis visited India in 2017 – walking back to the hut in identical fashion, outfoxed and offering a return catch to the bowler.

‘Wristies’ Rock Kiwis After Shami Setup, India Bowl NZ Out for 157
(Graphic: Shruti Mathur/The Quint)

Chahal’s chinaman-bowling partner has enjoyed his maiden appearance in almost every country he’s turned up in, and Kuldeep continued that trend at Napier. Wicketless in his first seven overs, the 24-year-old ran through the Kiwi lower-order with four strikes from his last 18 deliveries.

Having waged a lone battle, Williamson attempted to cut loose with his side at 146/6 after 33 overs. He fell off the first ball of Kuldeep’s eighth over, for an 81-ball 64; New Zealand’s innings had ended by the end of the 38th over.

(With statistical inputs from Arun Gopalakrishnan)

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