New Zealand v India, 2nd ODI, Hamilton

Batting blueprint was executed again - McCullum

Abhishek Purohit in Hamilton

January 22, 2014

Comments: 22 | Text size: A | A

Brendon McCullum is pleased with New Zealand clicking in every department in the first two ODIs against India. Both times, they have put big runs on the board after losing the toss. Both times, they haven't allowed India to blaze away early. And both times, they have absorbed pressure while defending to break threatening partnerships and close out the game. The fielding, as always, has been an asset.

Barring the few dropped chances, McCullum was satisfied with how his side had dealt with the challenge of facing up to the world champions so far, starting with scoring enough runs.

"I thought the way we constructed our batting innings again through the back of Kane [Williamson] and Ross's [Taylor] partnership, and Martin's [Guptill] hand, gave us the platform from where to launch," McCullum said. "And whilst the game was shortened, we were still in a nice position to do so. The batting blueprint was again executed tonight, which was encouraging obviously. And again I thought under pressure against a very good Indian batting line-up, we delivered at key times. It's big from a confidence point of view. We have just got the challenge now to put it together again in a few days' time."


Kane Williamson plays a pull shot, New Zealand v India, 2nd ODI, Hamilton, January 22, 2014
The top order gave New Zealand the platform to launch, even in a shortened game © Getty Images
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When it comes to India's batsmen, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have had plenty of success in the past year as an opening pair but New Zealand have been able to separate them without too much damage.

McCullum said the key was to be effective with the new ball. "Ideally you want to take wickets up front and that's where we spend our resources much, especially to try to attack early on knowing how important wickets are to the confidence of a team chasing. If we can get early wickets - we weren't able to do that - but we did the next best thing which is to control the run-rate. And when you control the run-rate, there is pressure on the batsman and the wickets sort of followed after that.

"I thought it was a pretty good performance from us with the ball under pressure. They played again some excellent hands. [Virat] Kohli again was brilliant to watch, put us under pressure but we stepped up at key times, different guys as well which was encouraging."

Kohli has made 123 and 78 in Napier and Hamilton respectively, and as long as he was in flow in both matches, along with MS Dhoni, India were in with a chance. McCullum said that to be in the hunt in such big chases despite losing other key batsmen showed what a quality side New Zealand were up against.

"Continue to learn that they (Kohli and Dhoni) are very, very good players. They are obviously very good at how to construct a run chase around, both those guys. It's quite important to not sit against them, it is important to try and take wickets knowing that if you can remove one of those two, it goes a long way towards nullifying their chase.

"They are a very good team. There are not too many teams around the world where you head in at half time in a 42-over game with 300 on the board and you know that you still have to scrap pretty hard with the ball and in the field. Against this team we know that's the case and thankfully we got it done under pressure."

One example of getting it done under pressure was Corey Anderson, who took quite a beating initially before coming back to pick up three late wickets, including the critical one of Dhoni. McCullum was grateful for the aggressive role Anderson played with the bat, but added it was important to support bowlers.

"With the ball, he didn't start that well, he knows that. One of the things we are trying to do is to ensure that you keep giving guys opportunities even though they may not start well but you need to keep coming back to them. Otherwise they will never get the opportunity to learn either. So that's one thing that we are pretty keen on, still allowing him to have that opportunity under pressure at the end there to really stand up and show how he can operate under pressure. I thought he did that really well, I think he learnt quite a lot with the ball in hand today."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by wanatawu on (January 23, 2014, 9:13 GMT)

NZ is probably the must improved team in the last couple of years, I think India will find it tough in the test also

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (January 23, 2014, 6:14 GMT)

Who is this Coriander Son ? Suddenly comes out of no where and starts breaking records.A millionaire in the making. NZ will surely be the team to watch in WC15

Posted by InsideHedge on (January 23, 2014, 0:38 GMT)

We badly need all rounders, quality ones. I'm not sure Stuart Binny is good enough but we'll never know unless we give him a good go. We need to try out the bench players, that's one of the exercises for this tour given we'll be playing here in the World Cup.

It's important experiments are made when the series is live. Make no mistake, if NZ wrap up the series in the next game, they will rest some players, and so trying out our bench strength against a 2n choice Kiwi team defeats the purpose of determining whether these players are good enough. Pick them now when the pressure is on, we need to find out if they cut the mustard.

Everyone buy MSD and the selectors know that Ishant isn't good enough so I guess hoping we find new stars is a forlorn exercise.

Posted by InsideHedge on (January 23, 2014, 0:35 GMT)

I can't help laughing when my fellow "knowledgeable fans" suggest dropping Rohit Sharma and replacing him with Robin Uthappa. Seriously, nothing wrong with benching Sharma but if you suggest batters far worse than him, you're gonna make me spill my dinner.

Another favourite target is Raina, a player who bats, bowls usefully and fields superbly. A couple of days back, a "fan" suggested he should be scoring 50 EVERY TIME. I wonder what universe some of these guys live in.

Posted by InsideHedge on (January 23, 2014, 0:35 GMT)

I can't help laughing when my fellow "knowledgeable fans" suggest dropping Rohit Sharma and replacing him with Robin Uthappa. Seriously, nothing wrong with benching Sharma but if you suggest batters far worse than him, you're gonna make me spill my dinner.

Another favourite target is Raina, a player who bats, bowls usefully and fields superbly. A couple of days back, a "fan" suggested he should be scoring 50 EVERY TIME. I wonder what universe some of these guys live in.

Posted by Snowbadger15 on (January 22, 2014, 23:55 GMT)

Corey Anderson is proving to be one our most valuable players in odi's as he takes big wickets ( i.e. Dhoni ) and he is playing explosive cameos which lead us to theses totals which we can defend even against this great Indian batting line up. I feel sorry for jimmy Neesham as our bowling attack is doing a good job at the moment that he cannot force his way in. I would be interested to see how his variation's would go against the Kohli, Dhoni and co. Anderson must be pretty much guaranteed a big ipl contract now after his explosive cameos to finish our innings off.

Posted by SameOld on (January 22, 2014, 23:24 GMT)

Very happy kiwi supporter here. Baz's captaincy again very important tonight, timely bowling changes and sending Anderson in to bat at 4 made the difference, I think. So pleasing to see NZ stay composed and grind out tough wins, even as game seems to be slipping away. Great stuff.

Disappointing that so many Indian fans think Dhoni, DL and/or selections lost them this game. India are an excellent side, played very well, and very nearly won both games of this series. If anything, the rain delay helped the Indians: NZ were headed for 350 or even more before the break, and the curtailed overs led directly Williamson's wicket, and the mini-collapse at the end. And Kohli, Dohni and the much maligned Raina almost stole it with some delectable batting under lights.

We who watch the kiwis consistently know this is a very talented side for whom the pieces are finally falling into place. NZ have played excellent cricket so far this series, have WON both games, and deserve to lead two-nil.

Posted by dunger.bob on (January 22, 2014, 22:33 GMT)

Awesome job NZ. It's like watching a fox terrier beat up a labrador. Barely believable but truly inspirational for everyone who's seen as the under-dog.

This Kiwi side is coming together beautifully and seems to have most of the bases covered. I'm glad my team won't be in the same group as them in the WC.

Posted by Chris_P on (January 22, 2014, 20:50 GMT)

@LAKingsFan. Agree, not sure why people don't give the Kiwis their due credit. They have outplayed India the first 2 games yet all I read is how bad India went. Well done to the Black Caps, they have shown they are a very solid team who will test any country.

Posted by wapuser on (January 22, 2014, 20:21 GMT)

Very good batting line up.With Gunville and Ryde at the top followed by Williamson Taylor Muslim and Anderson now no. 1 in the world

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