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Saturday, December 04, 2010

NZ ODIs - India win series with a resounding win

India won the 3rd ODI match, wrapping up the series quickly and quite easily with a convincing all-round performance. Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli, yet again, showed up with a masterclass for the Black Caps and took the Indians home in a canter. There was no pressure on the batsmen at any given time. The way Gambhir was playing, the Indians did not miss Sehwag at any time. But the match was just not about these two players.

The chart to the left shows the economy rate of the Indian bowlers (red line being the players' lifetime rate while the blue line shows the performance over this series). This could be due to the weak performance put up by the NZ team or the captaincy skills of Gautam Gambhir or the maturity of Eric Simons as India's bowling coach. Whatever it is, the result is heartening to see. The Indians seem to have found a bowler in Sreesanth to bowl effectively at the death, taking wickets to stem the run-flow. They have found a bowler in Munaf Patel, who bowls the line and length that would have made Glen McGrath proud.

Similarly, the performance of Ashwin as an effective bowler in the Power Plays gives the team a good option when the flow is tough. Yusuf Pathan has not had a chance with the bat but his bowling gets wickets whenever he comes on to bowl - isnt that good news for the team management. Yuvraj Singh has contributed with the ball so much that the thinking of an all-rounder could stop with this series - he can very well do this in the World Cup along with Sehwag. The picture to the left is similarly a comparison of the bowling average in this series versus the lifetime averages.

Back to the batting. Murali Vijay has been having a torrid time, trying to make his starts go on to a bigger contribution while Gambhir or Kohli have no such issues. For the next two matches, the team management will have to make changes to the playing eleven so that the players who havent got a chance (Sourabh Tiwary, Rohit Sharma) play in the remaining matches. Kohli will probably be the player who will get rest as Gambhir has to continue his role as a captain. Similarly, Praveen Kumar will make a comeback in place of Ashish Nehra or Zaheer Khan. All in all, a good series for the Indians who managed to beat the NZ team convincingly even after resting their top six or seven players.
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