By The Spotter
Superb performances by New Zealand national men’s cricket teams are often followed by disappointing ones, so let’s just hope that the backbone, level-headedness and stamina gets taken into the next ODI meeting with India on Wednesday, at Pune.
Tom Latham adapted (pardon the pun) seamlessly to the number five spot. We know though he has nimble footwork against spin, plays late- which means his hand-eye co-ordination is top-draw and is very judicious at judging what ball is a danger. Meaning he doesn’t take many undue risks. Therefore we shouldn’t that incredibly surprised that he excelled. Although first up against India, Emperor Kohli and the magnitude and mugginess of Mumbai really was a bit special.
The Black Caps’ fortitude was pleasing. The last couple of overs got a bit ugly without being a catastrophe and 280 was a pretty decent target on a wicket doing a bit; as Trent Boult proved so well. Boult really is a fantastic athlete. He would surely be a strong candidate for any World XI across all three forms.
And Mitch Santner seems to save his best for the sub-continent. Remember the plaudits he previously drew from Kohli? Last night he carried on where he left off in India. He consistently had the ball humming into that zone with just the right amount of loop that keeps the batsman on constant watch. Not many people talk about Santner and Ish Sodhi bowling together in the last T20 World Cup, but we should not forget how exceptional they were, especially early on in that tournament. The point is they are definitely international class. All they need now is the consistency to get to proven/star performer status. Sodhi isn’t there at the moment, but he will surely come again in one or both short forms.
Ross Taylor resisted cow corner slogs enough to build a class innings. We should not underestimate just how good he can be when he gets beyond 40 or 50. Ignoring that slightly errant shot with one run needed, you get the feeling that if Taylor had been needed for a further 30 overs he probably would have got them through also.
Wins in India are rare these days at any time. We don’t want to start savouring that performance though. Looking back later would be fine, but we need the boys to adopt the full-on, foot on the throat mentality for the next. A brilliant start to the summer awaits. A third decider is no good, we would be at very slim odds. Now is the time to make it count.
Our hopes are up for Wednesday. If India play like demons and we go down fighting, then fine. Followers just don’t to be led on and then let down by any type of sub par performance in any guise, however. It’s happened that way far too many times before.