A packed out VCA Stadium, Nagpur

BLACKCAPS dazzle and spin

Result: New Zealand 126/7, defeat India 79 all out, by 47 runs in the opening game of the ICC World Twenty20 in Nagpur.

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Summary: How to quiet a raucous Indian crowd. What an incredible performance against all the odds this was by a BLACKCAPS side who managed to beat the hosts at their own game on a terribly slow and turning Nagpur wicket. After Williamson won the toss & elected to bat, Guptill hit the first ball of the tournament for six, before Anderson (34) provided the glue to a total of 126, which in hindsight was a fine effort on that wicket. A crucial 11 ball cameo of 21 from keeper Luke Ronchi and 18 important runs from Mitchell Santner propped the score up to something that looked defendable.

Man of the Match: Mitchell Santner. At 24 years of age he is Captain Cool and so he proved on the biggest stage. His 4 for 11 was every bit as impressive as it reads as he bowled his left arm tweakers like an old pro on a turning pitch. His two wickets in the third over got the roll on and the rest as they say is history! Bright future for sure.



Key moment:
This was rewritten three times! Nathan McCullum taking a wicket in the first over of the Indian innings? Mitchell Santner following it up with two more in the third? Huge moments, but Ish Sodhi claiming the prized wicket of Virat Kohli first ball of his spell is getting the nod from us. It was a peach of a leg break that deceived the Indian superstar in flight and turn. Kohli was a man in red hot form and had breezed his way to 23 at that point. The wicket took the sting out of India and their crowd; and at 5 for 39 they were well and truly on the ropes.

Shot of the match: Hard to go past Guptill hitting the first ball of the tournament for six. One would expect a few nerves first up from the Kiwi opener facing off-spinner Ravi Ashwin in front of a frenzied home crowd. Apparently not. The ball was tossed up, Guptill planted his front-foot early and dispatched him casually back over his head for a maximum. Admittedly the gloss of that strike somewhat diminished when he was dismissed lbw the following ball.



*Honourable mention: Colin Munro's reverse sweep for six second ball was as clean as it was audacious from a straight half volley! Quite possibly the best in the world at that shot.

Ball of the match: Impossible to just pick one. Impossible. Can narrow it down to one type of delivery - spin. That's going to have to do. Santner (4 for 11), Sodhi (3-18) and Nathan McCullum (2-15) put on a spin bowling exhibition against the apparent masters of that art. Brilliant.

In the field: This was going to go to the keeper Ronchi for holding onto the feather from the crucial bat of Kohli, but Nathan McCullum quite literally snatched the award late in the piece. The 35 year old scampered in from long on to claim a brilliant low catch to dismiss Dhoni (30 from 30) and put the final nail in the Indian coffin.

Key stat: The New Zealand spinners claimed 9 for 44. Enough said.



Quirk: The journey to the ground was far from dull for the BLACKCAPS. Indian roads can be an interesting place at the best of times, but when there's a cricket match going on you could only describe it as manic. Swarms of motorbikes, cars as far as the eye can see and the odd stray cow, the team bus wasn't making great progress up the left hand side so the local officials kindly opened up the right side of the road to get us to the ground on time! Classic.    


Next up: And now for something completely different ... the boys are up at 6am tomorrow morning to begin a day of travel North to the edge of the Himalayas and the hillside city of Darashalla. Here they will find - we kid you not - snow, the Dalai Lama and our old enemy Australia. It’s the first game of the tournament for the Aussies while our boys will be looking to make it two big scalps in as many matches. Bring it on!

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