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New Zealand needs to tame Sehwag
March 04, 2009
India have stopped the New Zealanders, taking the momentum of their T20 wins, by overpowering them in the opening One-Day International.
India did well to choose what works for them -- bat first and play without any pressure -- in the first ODI in Napier on Tuesday. They were helped by Virender Sehwag's [Images] good form. After the rain gods halted the play, the match was reduced to 38 overs-a-side. After electing to bat first, Virender Sehwag again was in scintillating form, finding the gaps with ease and timing the ball beautifully when the ball was in his zone. Kyle Mills [Images], coming back after a lay-off , was guilty of either bowling too wide or too full, thereby helping the Indians, Suresh Raina [Images], in particular. Dhoni and Raina's association fetched 110 from just 12.2 overs to virtually shut the door on New Zealand [Images].
273 was a stiff target in the circumstances in the revised 38 overs and once the openers were dismissed cheaply it was always a catch up game for New Zealand. Daniel Vettori [Images] will have come up with something new to curb Sehwag's free-flowing stroke-play and range of shots. For that to happen the ball has to be pitched up to invite him into the drive, or even a barrage of back of length deliveries to make him nervous. Most of India's recent successes have been built around a fulcrum in the form of Sehwag and Gambhir.
A recalculated target of 216 off 28 overs after rain interruptions was an improbable one, with India sailing home via the Duckworth and Lewis method by 54 runs.
The Indian bowlers used the conditions well. Pravin Kumar, in particular, picked a couple of wickets, and bowled well with Zaheer Khan [Images].
Harbhajan Singh [Images] then polished off the tail, picking three wickets.
From an Indian standpoint, Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images] did well by promoting himself up the order. He rotated the strike well in the initial stages and then threw the bat at everything in the end. But it was the belligerence of Raina helped put up a daunting total, with acceleration from Yusuf Pathan [Images] in the death overs.
Vettori will be busy thinking about a ploy to tie down Sehwag and make early inroads in the Indian batting line up for the next game, as that would then make the inexperienced and off-colour middle order to face the music.
On the other hand, the Indians would be content with their winning effort, after the successive T20 defeats. However, they will have to get Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum [Images] early. Both have the flair to clear the short boundaries and clearly running in-form.
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