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Monday, January 27, 2014

NZ ODI Series - spinners keep India alive

Indian Spinners kept the hopes alive thanks to their batting and economical bowling in the 3rd ODI. Both Ashwin and Jadeja scored more than 65 while Jadeja picked up one more wicket than Ashwin's solitary one (one catch each for both). There were calls to drop one or both of them by the fans (including me) for their ineffectiveness during the last few ODIs but they have given MSD enough hope to continue sticking with them. Stuart Binny has to wait for some more time.

The Indians batted better than what they had done in the first two ODIs while the bowlers came back well to stop the NZ run-flow. The coaches seem to have done a good job - proof being the yorkers at the death by Shami and Bhuvi. Aaron bowled well in his comeback and showed that he needed couple of more chances (compared to the never-learning Ishant). Ishwar Pandey is part of the test squad and hence he might have to wait that much longer. If not for the batting exploits of the spinners, Dhoni might have thought of trying Amit Mishra in the next match. Let us see what the next match brings about.

The batting department showed signs of urgency this time with the openers putting a 50+ partnership but they couldnt kick on. For once, Kohli failed and Rahane got an unfair verdict putting pressure on Dhoni and Raina again. What does one say about Raina ? He ticks all the right boxes about enthusiasm, passion, never-say die spirit, fielding, death bowling but in the area of his core competence he seems to be shaky. He is always on the lookout for the short ball and it might be a good idea for him to talk to Virat Kohli and understand how Kohli turned around after the dismal series against West Indies overseas. Dhoni batted like only he can but it was the Ashwin-Jadeja show that turned the tide.

Ashwin has always batted well in test matches but his ODI record is nothing to gloat about. This match was one where both players wanted to improve their records and take India to victory. They could have won the match if not for the spectacular catch by Guptill. Jadeja took over and single-handedly took India to a tie. He showed character, decision-making ability (remember the refusal to take single in the last over with 12 required) and big-hitting during his knock. Will this knock help him in future? Hopefully it should. Not for nothing, Shane Warne labelled him as the RockStar.
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