New Zealand kick-started their Twenty20 World Cup campaign with a crushing eight-wicket victory which leaves India’s semi-final hopes hanging by a thread. Trent Boult took three wickets and player of the match Ish Sodhi two as the Black Caps restricted the 2007 champions to just 110 for seven during the opening innings of the Super 12s match in Dubai.
Ravindra Jadeja’s unbeaten 26 gave India faint hope of keeping their last-four aspirations in their own hands but New Zealand made light work of the modest total, wrapping up victory with 33 balls to spare. Daryl Mitchell fell one short of a half-century for the Kiwis, while captain Kane Williamson posted 33 not out, including the decisive run.
Both sides came into the crunch contest with work to do having each suffered defeats to Group Two leaders Pakistan in their respective opening matches of the tournament. After winning the toss and opting to field, the Black Caps swiftly set about dismantling their opponents’ top order.
Ishan Kishan was dismissed by Boult for four and, although progress was momentarily halted when Adam Milne dropped a regulation catch to remove Rohit Sharma for a duck, India had posted just 48 for four when captain Virat Kohli departed for nine on the opening ball of the 11th over.
India-born spinner Sodhi claimed the prized scalp of Kohli, tempting him into a slog sweep which was caught by Boult at long on, having earlier dismissed Sharma for 14. New Zealand’s dominance dampened the atmosphere among the considerable Indian support inside the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
However, a slight blemish saw them concede 16 runs off the final eight deliveries, including a superb six from Jadeja, to add a little more interest to the chase. India pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah managed to dismiss openers Martin Guptill and Mitchell for 20 and 49 respectively but experienced skipper Williamson expertly steered his side to a comfortable win with more than five overs remaining.
New Zealand return to action against Scotland on Wednesday, while India’s salvage operation begins when they meet Afghanistan later that day.