Sunday, February 2, 2020

India completes whitewash at Mount Maunganui - Dube's has nightmarish spell


Heard of - Chandrasekara Arachchilage Kasun Rajitha- no marks for finding that he is a Srilankan player.

The local media reported  that a  fishing charter boat is breaking up on rocks near Mount Maunganui, after running aground late on Friday night. The 12-metre vessel is a well-known fishing charter boat in the area, however it's now being smashed by waves with the front of the boat almost completely destroyed. It was hoped the 'Miss Fleur' would be refloated at high tide on Saturday, but it's now too badly damaged.

Mount Maunganui of Tauranga, located on a peninsula to the north-east of Tauranga's city centre. It was an independent town from Tauranga until the completion of the Tauranga Harbour Bridge in 1988, which connects Mount Maunganui to Tauranga's central business district.  Located across the harbour from Tauranga, “the Mount” is almost surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, with New Zealand’s best beach on one side of its peninsula, and the sheltered waters of Pilot Bay on the other. Standing 232m above sea level, this iconic landmark is treasured by Maori and it is here that today’s T20I was played.

New Zealand's top-order power hitting propelled them to victory in their Twenty20 international in Mount Maunganui on Sunday. Don’t get carried awy – Win not for Black Caps but for White Ferns – the women’s team.  The White Ferns defeated South Africa by nine wickets with 7.4 overs remaining at Bay Oval after choosing to bowl in the first of five T20s in the series as both sides prepare for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this month. Sophie Devine made short work of her side's pursuit of 117 for victory with a bold half-century. The new skipper struck four sixes and three fours in her unbeaten 54. She was dropped on 53 when the result was a formality.

Black Caps had a different experience – another one they would like to forget as would Shivam Dube in the 10th over of NZ innings.  NZ were 64/3 and required 100 from 11 – Shivam Dube had a good opportunity today, promoted and had overs to play but failed with the bat.  With India in a commanding position Dube came on to bowl to Seifert – 1st disappeared over midwicket for 6; 2nd was pulled again – Washington Sundar let it go through his hands for 6; 3rd was scooped over the keeper for 4; then a single came as a relief !; next a front-foot no ball, Washington slipped and let the ball over the rope for 4; freehit was smacked over midwicket for a 6; last ball had a similar result and Shivam Dube had bowled one of the worst overs – 1-0-34-0.

Yet Kiwis could not win the match as the rest of the bowlers more specifically Bumrah, Saini and Thakur bowled well.  The losing run for the Black Caps is now eight after India completed a 5-0 sweep of the Twenty20 series in Mount Maunganui.  The seven-run defeat meant NZ have not won an international match this year, after they lost the third and final test of their series in Australia in January, followed by the five defeats to India in the shortest format.

Today too the hosts were  without injured captain Kane Williamson, while the absence of the injured duo of Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson has stifled NZ's impact with the ball.  Virat Kohli sat out, Rohit Sharma came to lead in his place and that was the only change, which meant Sanju Samson got another chance and .. .. failed.  Once KL Rahul took over the gloves,  he has not only sealed his place but cemented out players like Rishab Pant, Sanju Samson, Ishan Kishan and perhaps MS Dhoni too. India may not think of another wicket-keeper in T20 for some more time.  Rahul has been rocking with the bat- today,  he slowed down against spin, he made it to 45 off 33 balls, and closed out the series with 224 runs in five innings at an average of 56 and strike rate of just a shade under 145.

After Sanju Samson (2) opened once again and threw away another opportunity, Rahul set the early pace, cracking Southee for three boundaries in the third over, the pick of them being an exquisite lofted six over extra-cover. The score card reads : India 163 for 3 (Rohit 60 retired hurt, Rahul 45, Kuggeleijn 2-25) beat New Zealand 156 for 9 (Taylor 53, Seifert 50, Bumrah 3-12, Saini 2-23) by seven runs – and that completed a Whitewash (5-0)

Ross Taylor made a half-century in his 100th T20I in front of his family, but New Zealand still botched another match that they should've won. Rohit Sharma retired hurt on 60, after hurting his left calf, but Jasprit Bumrah and co. helped India rally and secure a 5-0 whitewash. After Taylor had provided a throwback to his IPL heyday and shellacked 34 runs along with Tim Seifert in that  Shivam Dube over, New Zealand needed 66 off 60 balls to pull one back in the series. This time they couldn't even take it into a Super Over and by the time Ish Sodhi launched a pair of sixes in the last over, the game was all but up.

Martin Guptill had been the first to go, for 2, when Bumrah pinged him on the back thigh - although ball-tracking revealed later that it would have bounced over leg stump. Seventeen for 2 became 17 for 3, when a panic-stricken mix-up saw Tom Bruce fall for a second successive duck. Seifert and Taylor then revived the chase by putting on 99 in 56 balls. After settling in, Seifert unveiled the sweep against Yuzvendra Chahal and then scooped Dube for four.  Seifert's dismissal triggered a terminal slide and there would be no way back for New Zealand again. For India, their spinners Washington and Chahal bowled an over each at the death and didn't give up a single boundary. Shardul Thakur eventually defended 20 off the final over to prolong New Zealand's misery.

If you still remember that Q on Rajitha – at Adelaide Oval in T20 No. 978, he had disastrous figures of 4-0-75-0; fortunately Dube did not have to bowl any longer !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
2nd Feb 2020.

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