The blue tigers startEd their warm-up campaign on not so happy note as the Indian squad faced an upsetting defeat against New Zealand in their very first warm-up session at Kennington Oval Stadium at London on Saturday. Initially what looks like a perfect start for Indian cricketers after winning the toss turned into a joyless ending as New Zealand beat Virat Kohli-led squad by six wickets with 77 balls still left in the match.
In every cricket match, the pitch plays a great role in the winning or losing of a team and so in this warm up game also as the seaming pitch of Kennington helped New Zealand’s pacers a lot which probably became the reason for India’s defeat. While giving the overview of the pitch former South African skipper Shaun Pollock said,”It’s cloudy and overcast, plenty of grass on the wicket. It all depends on the weather conditions, and if the tracks are slow and dry, it will obviously help the spinners”. He also added,”English weather is so unpredictable that you get a week of rain and you have green tracks”.
India lost its three crucial wickets for 24 runs right in the beginning of the match after electing to bat first. It was star batsman Ravindra Jadeja who helped the Indian squad to cross at least 150 runs in the match as he scored 54 runs off 50 balls before losing his wicket against fast bowler Lockie Ferguson. While the perfect finisher MS Dhoni who is considered to be the backbone of Indian National Cricket Team was also dismissed cheaply by Tim Southee after scoring 17 off 42 balls.
Chasing down the paltry target of 180 runs in 50 overs was like child-play for New Zealand as captain Kane Wiliamson’s 67 off 87 balls and Ross Taylor’s 71 off 75 balls helped their side to reach closer to the target and clinch the win.
India will next take on Bangladesh squad in the second warm-up fixture on May 28 at Cardiff Stadium while New Zealand will face Windies at Bristol County ground on the same day.
This is just the beginning for India may be they would turn their fortunes in the showpiece event of ICC World Cup 2019 starting from May 30 across the mesmerizing venues of England and Wales. Two-time World Cup champions will start their Cricket Cup campaign against South Africa on June 5th at The Rose Bowl Stadium in Southampton.