After a fantastic series against the mighty yellows from down under, India came into the New Zealand series carrying loads of confidence. India did start as favourites for the ODI series, but the determined Kiwis were never too far behind. They had a strong statement to make in the very first ODI itself, delivering a wonderful all-round performance. After restricting India to 280 at the iconic Wankhede, the blackcaps kept their composure while chasing, after an average start. The 200 run stand between Latham and Taylor, frustrated India, and sealed the deal for NZ. What followed was a drastic turnaround for the Indians, who won the two subsequent ODIs to clinch the series. Here’s a report card of India’s performance in the ODI series
(Note – ‘*’ denotes a lack of sufficient information to thoroughly judge a player)
1. Rohit Sharma – 8.5/10
After a great series against Australia, Rohit Sharma continued his good string of performances against New Zealand. Although he failed to get going in the first two ODIs, the third was an exhibition of the star quality of the mighty opener. His blistering 147(138) left the Kiwi bowlers clueless. There are very few batsman in the world who would be able to match up to a fluent Rohit Sharma on his day. His lazy elegance is easy on the eyes, and he has grown into a formidable top order batsman for India. His only shortcomings are that he is quite tentative while starting off, and that he is prone to throwing his wicket away out of nowhere. Rohit finished as the third highest run-scorer in the series, thanks to his monumental knock in the final ODI that propelled India to a series victory.
2. Shikhar Dhawan – 7.5/10
If there’s one strong suit for Shikhar Dhawan, it is playing ODIs at home. Despite that, it was an average series for the Delhi opener, who finished with scores of 9, 68, and 14. He guided India towards successfully chasing a small total of 230 with his 68 (84) in the 2nd ODI. Too much shouldn’t be read into this performance from Dhawan, as he is known to bat in cycles. He’s a solid ODI opener who settles down quickly, and makes up for Rohit’s sometimes slow starts.
3. Virat Kohli – 10/10
Innings – 3; Runs – 263; Average 87.67; 100s – 2
When it comes to Virat Kohli, no amount of literary praise does justice to his contribution. It is only fitting to put the numbers out there, and let people decide for themselves. A 10/10 isn’t unusual for Virat; he’s simply such a special cricketer. Period.
4. Dinesh Karthik – 8/10
The number 4 slot is posing quite a conundrum now for India. Dinesh Karthik was good in this series, and made some very useful contributions. After failing to convert his start of 37 (47) in the first game, he played a solid knock of 64 (92) in the second ODI. The WK-Batsman has made merry of his chance in this series, and I don’t see why he shouldn’t be given an extended run at No. 4.
5. M S Dhoni – 7*/10
It is extremely difficult to put a number on lower middle order batsmen, because they bat in such unpredictable and hurrying circumstances. M S Dhoni contributed a bunch of runs in all three games, but I’d just like to see him bat one position higher up the batting order. It is an unfair ask seeing the number of batsmen already in contention for the No. 4 position, but it would be interesting to see Dhoni occasionally bat at 4 and get a substantial number of overs to play.
6. Kedar Jadhav – 6.5*/10
Jadhav is a tough one to judge, because he comes lower down the order and we hardly see enough of him. That said, he couldn’t capitalise on his promotion up the order in the first ODI. Although he did come in late and score a handful of useful quick runs in the 3rd. We have seen him bowl quite a substantial chunk of his quota (8 overs) in both of the last two ODIs. He offers an important 6th bowling option for Kohli, especially considering that Pandya rarely gets through his 10 overs.
7. Hardik Pandya – 7*/10
Another tricky one. Got a few starts but couldn’t convert any of them into a meaningful knock. The only thing with Pandya for me is that I’d like him to turn into a more complete bowler, who can guarantee the captain 8+ overs every game. If not, it will become increasingly difficult for Kohli to consistently find part time bowling options as a cover. On the whole, Pandya is an immensely talented all-rounder, and one to keep an eye out for the future.
8. Yuzvendra Chahal – 7.5/10
Chahal picked up 4 wickets in the three games he played at a decent economy of 4.79. With India turning to the wicket-taking options of Axar, Yuzi and Kuldeep over the spin-twins Ashwin and Jadeja in the limited over formats, Chahal could have an important role to play for Indian cricket in the coming years.
9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 8/10
As Harsha Bhogle put it, Bhuvi is a bowler who is quietly rising up the ranks. Kumar finished as the 3rd highest wicket taker with 5 wickets, and also delivered a man of the match performance in the second ODI. He bowled brilliantly to pick up 3 wickets in the second game, and was instrumental in restricting New Zealand to a low score. He would’ve scored higher than an 8/10, but had a rare off-day in his last ODI, conceding an expensive 92 in his 10 overs.
10. Jasprit Bumrah – 9.5/10
Jasprit Bumrah was the pick of the Indian bowlers this series. With 6 wickets in the 3 matches, he jointly finished as the highest wicket taker of the series along with Tim Southee. He held his nerve, and bowled well at the death in the last ODI to take India home. He’s handled the pressure of death bowling well for quite a while now, and is also a great bowler upfront. With Bumrah and Bhuvi at the helm, India’s pace attack is in good hands for the next few years.