The promise of a lucrative turnover of runs was always there at the all-important stock exchange strip at the rejuvenated McLean Park, Napier, tonight.

The question was whether Black Caps captain Kane Williamson was going to trade on the high liquidity on offer at short maturities when the tossed coin fell his way in the opening one-day international of the five-match Netmeds Series Trophy campaign.

The financial reports will damningly show New Zealand didn't after they lost by eight wickets on the floor of a sizzling stock exchange after strategies, charts, patterns, indices and the like were tabled when the closing bell rang to signal the premature end. Not even the 40-minute delay in trading, due to the predicted sun strike, can be tendered as an excuse.

The irony was a venue disenfranchised momentarily because of poor drainage after rain in an ODI match against Australia in February 2017 today found an unrepentant sun holding the day-nighter at ransom. Maybe the criss-cross structure above the Chapman Stand is a sign of possibly a hoarding to act as sun block. Watch that space.


But all that didn't detract from the hosts' ability to somehow turn a bullish track into a bearish one. Only Williamson's 64 runs from 81 deliveries, including seven boundaries, is worthy of a mention after they were skittled for 157 with 12 overs to spare.

Frankly it was loose change from the other Kiwi batsmen. It wouldn't have bought them decent time at a parking lot, even without the threat of meter maids armed with chalk sticks to mark tyres.

Without dispute it was always going to be a Blue Chip Stocks day. For the benefit of cricket fans not too familiar with monetary jargon, it is those stocks behind large, industry-leading companies which offer a stable record of significant dividend payments and have a reputation of sound fiscal management.

With a predominantly India-heavy corporate sponsorship backdrop behind him, Williamson lamented a stray from the tennis-ball highway strip the Black Caps had become accustomed to in previous summers.

"A little bit more of pace and bounce seem to be part of a much more high-scoring game," said the No 3 batsman as India got there with 2-156 and 91 balls to spare on a spurious Duckworth-Lewis Method calculations.

"We weren't expecting a surface to play that way but, having said that, it wasn't a bad surface but just different to what we were expecting and that's fine because that's what cricket is about."

On reflection, he bemoaned a lack of "smarts" from his batsmen "who never really got going".

"I think if you can build a partnership and take it deep then you get to that 230 to 240 mark in a game but we were obviously not allowed to."

While India captain Virat Kohli and his players had their share of market jitters they didn't try to push the envelope too often although when a game becomes so abbreviated it must be difficult not to have a rush of blood to the head, between eking out sedate singles.


It seemed the tourists had settled on riding the inflationary waves, seeing in 10 overs at the expense of bolshy opener Rohit Sharma's wicket for 11 runs before cashing in on the odd boundary in chasing down the revised 156-run target off 49 overs, one over lost to sun strike but no devaluation of the dollar was going to help the Black Caps' cause today.

Well before any significant total was posted, opener Shikar Dhawan had accrued 5000 ODI runs when he reached 10 to the unhinging sound of snake-charming type music. He was unbeaten on 75.

Mohammad Shami appeals for the wicket of Mitchell Santner, on the way to claiming the man-of-the-match award. Photo/Photosport
Mohammad Shami appeals for the wicket of Mitchell Santner, on the way to claiming the man-of-the-match award. Photo/Photosport

Earlier in the New Zealand innings, opening bowler Mohammed Shami, turning the new ball both ways, brought up his 100th limited-overs wicket when he dismissed opening batsman Martin Guptill for five runs.

In juxtaposition, wily old campaigner and former India skipper MS Dhoni wagged the mother tongue behind the stumps and Kuldeep Yadav was walking the talk when he obliged with a "dusra walah" (googly) that saw Sharma snaffle Trent Boult, adopting a bunker mentality, at first slip for one run. But then you come to expect that from the boys who deal in lower denomination currency in the lower batting order.

Conversely, therein lies the sound wicket management, without giving Black Caps counterpart Tom Latham a complex about dropping a potential second wicket before the 15-over mark.

Yadav finished with figures of 4-39 from 10 overs, including a maiden, in mopping up the tail after Shami knocked over the top order for 3-19 from six overs, including two maidens to claim the frugality stakes. Right-arm leg break Yuzvendra Chahal, a former India international chess representative, made his moves to take 2-43.

Were India bowlers, especially Yadav's slow, left-arm chinaman deliveries, that good or did the Kiwi batsmen throw away their wickets through a lack of application in trying to occupy the Gaza Strip of cricket after some pre-match diplomacy between Williamson and Kohli?

ANZ Man of the Match Shami, renowned for his ability to extract reverse swing from a spent red ball, was only playing his seventh ODI since the 2015 ODI World Cup and it was his 56th outing overall today.

"I am back to bowling at my normal speed and I am thankful to God that I have come back to normalcy and I will try to continue like this," he said in the vernacular, alluding to a prolonged post-world cup injury layoff.

Shami felt McLean Park history demanded attention to accuracy with line and length on a docile surface and claustrophobic side boundaries .

You wonder what former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson, suited up as a Sky TV commentator, would have made of it but then he was seldom ever a fan of spinners.

On the flip side, Kiwi batting coach Craig McMillan has his work cut out considering seven scalps were lost to spin.

"I think the length they bowled to us was outstanding and they did make scoring hard to achieve so there's a lot of learning to come from that ...," Williamson said.

He felt the "flat" wicket offered more purchase to the tweakers although India's pack mentality as a bowling attack was evident.

"It [the ball] held a little bit more on the wicket and it was quite tough to gain and put together six or seven overs because after 25 runs we'd lose another wicket throughout the innings."

New Zealand's Doug Bracewell savours the limelight with Tim Southee and Tom Latham after claiming the key wicket of opener Rohit Sharma. Photo/Photosport
New Zealand's Doug Bracewell savours the limelight with Tim Southee and Tom Latham after claiming the key wicket of opener Rohit Sharma. Photo/Photosport

Doug Bracewell, finishing with 1-23 from seven overs at first change to sit just behind left-arm opener Boult's wicketless shift in the miserly department, showed why he should be in the selectors' equation with his bend-your-back mentality but the question remains on whether Mitchell Santner is back in the reckoning as a dart chucker who is now valued more for his ability to bump up the run rate.

Leg spinner Ish Sodhi, running out the snake lollies, and Matt Henry would add some variation to the element of sameness in the Black Caps' bowling attack, on a day when Lockie Ferguson's scorching pace (clocked at up to 149.1kmh) matched the balmy Bay weather.

The bottom line is New Zealand batsmen simply didn't build a stable and solid enough foundation for their bowlers to work with although the fielding was up to the traditional standards.

Williamson endorsed those sentiments but stressed it wasn't about jumping to conclusions and, instead, identifying areas that required attention in moving on.

"On our day, when we can put it together, we can beat anybody unless it's a very strong opposition as India is, as everyone knows ..."

Furthermore, it wasn't Sri Lanka. This is the big league and a more realistic yardstick of where New Zealand are, even with the advantage of home turf.

For the 7517 expectant fans, some who left as early as the 25th over of the run chase, they will have to contend with possibly watching India pyrotechnics in the remaining four ODIs as the teams head for the Bay of Plenty tomorrow for the next encounter on Saturday.

For the vociferous India spectators, it was well worth the wait to see Kohli (45 runs) and Dhoni ride a Segway in front of the Harris Stand as they waited for speeches, awards and autographs.