Black Caps v India: Three questions

Herald cricket writers David Leggat and Andrew Alderson answer some key questions following the Black Caps' big win over India at the World T20.

1) Did you see this performance coming (and what sort of message does it send)?

David Leggat: Short answer, no, not to the extent of the victory. New Zealand were always a chance to win the match; I'd suggest no one saw India's capitulation coming.

The ploy of using three spinners had been suggested, but omitting both Trent Boult and Tim Southee, not to forget the successful Mitch McClenaghan in the shortest form, seemed one too many. New Zealand clearly decided they had to take a chance that spin would win. India selected two specialists, of whom Ravi Jadeja dropped hints for New Zealand in the first half of the match that they could be on a winning trick.

New Zealand read the pitch behaviour perfectly, India were befuddled and completely lost their way.

MS Dhoni was a touch churlish in not giving New Zealand's spinners the full praise they deserved, although he had a point after soft dismissals from some of his batsmen.

The message: that New Zealand can be a serious player in this tournament, and have the smarts and cunning to be a handful for any team. But don't forget, it's only one game.

Andrew Alderson: I thought they were capable of winning, but not in such emphatic circumstances. They have stunned the tournament, especially defending the relatively low T20 total and maintaining an unbeaten record against India in five T20s.

Bowling won the day, but the contributions of Corey Anderson (34 off 42) and Luke Ronchi (21 off 11) offered the impetus to give them a chance. There has been an assumption New Zealand's impact will be limited without Brendon McCullum, but this was the perfect start to the new era.

Indian complacency means they will subject to hyperbaric pressure against Pakistan in Kolkata on Sunday morning.

2. How does this set NZ up for the rest of the tournament?

David Leggat: New Zealand have Australia and Pakistan to follow before finishing with Bangladesh. The Aussies fancy their chances against New Zealand in the big games, but beat them and suddenly all sorts of possibilities open up.

They will have a degree of wriggle room should things go wrong against Pakistan. Lose to Australia and they'll have lost a degree of the momentum today's result has given New Zealand. But the jab of self-assurance will certainly help Kane Williamson's men.

Andrew Alderson: The schedule doesn't get easier with Australia, Pakistan and Bangladesh to come. New Zealand, the new world No 2 behind India, will have limited over confidence against Australia as the incumbent Chappell-Hadlee Trophy holders. Australia are ranked fifth, Pakistan seventh and Bangladesh 10th.

I suspect the toughest opponent will be Pakistan but, in an irony on the subcontinent, will they have the spin attack beyond Shahid Afridi to present a significant threat? However, combating a pace attack which could include Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan or Anwar Ali will be challenging.

3) Will they stick with three spinners for the remainder of their games?

David Leggat: Not necessarily. Conditions will dictate that. For example, picturesque Dharamsala has some reputation for a spot of dew and breezes which can aid any swing. Three spinners may not be required and a Boult or Southee may be.

But what today has shown is that New Zealand will back themselves if they feel the three-card spin trick can work again. There won't be any furrowed brows and ''should we try it" going into the selection process. If they go down that path there will be confidence in what the spinners can deliver.

Andrew Alderson: It will depend on whether other pitches are as dead as Nagpur. This selection strikes as a piece of Mike Hesson genius. It requires calculated intuition to persevere with such a bold call.

The attack proved the perfect mix - an offspinner (Nathan McCullum), a legspinner (Ish Sodhi) and a left-arm orthodox spinner (Mitchell Santner). They bowled 38 dot balls (McCullum eight, Sodhi 14, Santner 16) out of 66 which makes for 58 per cent of deliveries. The highlight was Sodhi ripping one past Virat Kohli to secure an edge.

Adam Milne was picked to offer excessive pace and, in the biggest surprise, Trent Boult, Tim Southee and the world's fifth-ranked T20 bowler Mitchell McClenaghan vied to carry the drinks.

- NZ Herald

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