The star-studded Indian batting line-up was given a big wake-up call in their first warm-up fixture against New Zealand at the Kennington Oval on Saturday. Kiwi fast bowler Trent Boult delivered a brilliant spell with the new ball to rattle India for a pretty modest total of 179 runs. Then in the second innings, the duo of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor stitched a fabulous century partnership to help New Zealand register a dominating 6-wicket victory.
Only a few things went right for the Men in Blue after they elected to bat first on a green pitch. Trent Boult picked up three early wickets following which Colin de Grandhomme accounted for Kohli’s prized scalp.
The Indian team couldn’t recover from the jolts and they were bowled out for 179 in 39.2 overs. During the run-chase, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro perished cheaply, but a well-crafted 114-run stand between Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor meant that the Black Caps cruised home with 77 balls to spare. Both batters got out eventually, but by then, the writing was already on the wall for the Indian team.
The pitch had a greenish tinge to it that made the leather jag around. Indian batsmen couldn’t handle the seam movement and succumbed to it. After the heavy defeat, Kohli wants his team to pull up its socks before the main round. He admitted that the track got easier for batting in the second innings while signifying the role of fielding in the tournament.
“It is (was) going to be very different in the second innings. The wicket didn’t have enough in the second innings. The fielders are going to have a crucial role. Those half-chances will count. We will have to be precise in every department,” Kohli said in the post-match press conference.
Lower-order has to contribute at times
Kohli praised Jadeja for his impressive 54-run knock and reckoned that from 50 for 4, it was a good effort to finish with 180. The Indian skipper stated that is very important for the lower-order to contribute with the bat in a big tournament such the World Cup.
“Very good innings from (Ravindra) Jadeja. From 50 for 4 to get to 180 was a good effort. In a tournament like WC, the lower order has to score at times if the top-order gets out quickly. Hardik (Pandya) batted well, MS (Dhoni) absorbed the pressure well and Jadeja played well,” he added.