How the Black Caps beat India at their own game

By David Leggat

Talk about being undone at your own game.

New Zealand walked into conditions tailormade for India's spinners but trumped them with a three-pronged attack which skittled the world T20 favourites for just 79, putting a large kink in India's tournament aspirations, but also giving themselves a huge jolt of self-belief.

At halftime, New Zealand were staring at defeat.

But their decision to ditch their two best bowlers, Trent Boult and Tim Southee, both seamers, and put their faith in the slow men paid off in spades - a case of brave selection being richly rewarded.

Match centre with scorecard, wagon wheel and Manhattan/Worm

Consider that Nathan McCullum, man of the match Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi took nine of the 10 Indian wickets - speedster Adam Milne wrapped the thoroughly convincing win with 11 balls to spare - and check the statistics.

Out of a total of 66 balls from the three spinners, 38 went scoreless.

They were bang on the job from the start of their stints, bowled intelligently and with cunning. They out-India'd the Indians in a backyard they could have designed for themselves.

Listen: Mike Hesson talks to Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking

New Zealand had all three spin types covered.

Veteran offspinner McCullum, opening the bowling, took the first wicket with his fifth ball; left armer Santner delivered a beauty with his second ball to have the dangerous Rohit Sharma easily stumped, albeit after a fumble, by Luke Ronchi; while legspinner Sodhi grabbed the prize wicket of Virat Kohli with his first ball.

Kohli, on 23 off 27 balls, was India's big hope, even though they were in a tailspin at 39 for four. Soon after it was 43 for seven and, barring a late MS Dhoni barrage, India were done.

Kohli aimed a loose drive at Sodhi's first ball, which turned and took the edge of his bat.
Cue big celebrations, and understandably so. Kohli's recent record is outstanding. His anger at himself was clearly evident.

Both Santner and Sodhi found significant turn - having watched India's left armer Ravi Jadeja produce similarly sharp turn in the first half of the match, Santner admitted he figured lifting his pace slightly and getting the ball into the pitch to bite was the way to go.

Listen: Nathan McCullum talks to the Crowd Goes Wild Breakfast

Sodhi dived forward to take a fine return catch to dismiss Jadeja; Santner induced a gentle catch to short mid wicket from stocky Suresh Raina; Yuvraj Singh jabbed a return catch back to McCullum.

India's batsmen's timing was all awry on a tortoise pitch, just as New Zealand's batsmen had earlier battled to make headway.

Corey Anderson's 34 off 42 balls came to assume more importance the deeper India's problems became.

India lost their first three wickets in 17 balls to the spinners; later three more fell in 14 balls for just four. By the end, Sodhi and Santner were turning the ball a metre.

If India had tried to lay a trap for New Zealand's players, who generally prefer good batting conditions, or even those helping seam bowling, it backfired badly.

So, canny New Zealand toppled cocky India. Remember, the Indians had won 10 of their 11 T20 internationals this year, including winning the Asia Cup.

They fancied their chances and now face a big challenge, against Pakistan in Kolkata this weekend.

New Zealand, meanwhile, will go to Dharamsala to take on Australia confident that they can cope with whatever conditions they're confronted with.

- NZ Herald

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