Thanks to the heroics of Ambati Rayudu, Team India notched up another series victory, after their Australian success, in commanding style (“India win series 4-1 after Rayudu rescue,” Feb.4, The Gulf Today).
Apart from the sole eight-wicket defeat in the penultimate match, the Indian side has proved their status in the shorter format of game. And with four months away from the World Cup, the series highlighted the gulf between second-ranked India and third-ranked New Zealand.
But India can’t take their prowess for granted. The fourth ODI defeat in Hamilton proved that. Cricket is unpredictable in that respect. With a comfortable 3-1 series lead, the Indians seemed overconfident and probably had taken their opponents for granted. But were made to smell the coffee when the Kiwi bowler Trent Boult wreaked havoc and took the tie in the host’s favour. He continued his form in the final match too and at one stage India looked like they were heading for another defeat when Matt Henry and Boult ripped out the first four wickets in under10 overs. Fortunately for the visitors, Rayudu saved his side the blushes.
India is considered favourites to lift the upcoming World Cup but the New Zealand series has shown some chinks in their armour.
Nitin Nair — By email
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