New Zealand thrashed India by eight wickets in Dubai in both teams’ second match of the Super 12 stage, leaving Virat Kohli’s side still searching for their first victory of the tournament.
India’s future at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 is out of their own hands after New Zealand produced a stunning win in Dubai.
Set a modest target of 111 to win the Group 2 fixture, Kiwi opener Daryl Mitchell top-scored in a comfortable chase, hitting a quickfire 49 as his side chased it down with 33 balls to spare.
The result means that India will need other games to go their way if they are to reach the semi-finals.
Earlier India endured a disappointing evening with the bat, limping to 110/7 off their 20 overs after being put in to bat first.
Even captain Kane Williamson wouldn’t have expected his attack to tie India in knots to the extent that they did, with Ravindra Jadeja top-scoring with 26 at the death in a disappointing showing from the pre-tournament favourites.
All five New Zealand bowlers excelled, but it was the spin pair of Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi who kept things particularly tight, going for just 32 runs off their combined eight overs, with Sodhi taking the crucial wickets of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
India had made a change at the top of the order from their opening loss to Pakistan, bringing in Ishan Kishan for Suryakumar Yadav and dropping the rest of the batting line-up down one. But Kishan made little impact, falling to Trent Boult for just four off eight balls.
The scoring rate was slow, despite the occasional moment of brilliance, as KL Rahul and Sharma tried to rebuild.
But, just when they tried to let loose, New Zealand struck.
Rahul holed out to deep square leg off the penultimate ball of the powerplay, and Sharma was gone two overs later, slicing a shot to long-on.
India’s fortunes took a further blow when captain Kohli was caught on the boundary off the very first ball after the drinks break, leaving India 48/4 after 10.1 overs.
And Adam Milne, who was drafted straight into the first XI after receiving a call-up as an injury replacement for Lockie Ferguson, showed his searing pace to clean up Rishabh Pant.
It was an uncharacteristic knock for Pant, who scratched his way to 12 off 19, not managing a single boundary in his stay at the crease, as India limped their way into the death overs needing a big finish to get to a competitive total.
Hardik Pandya’s four through backward point off the last delivery of the 17th over was India’s first boundary in 71 balls. But it was the big-hitting all-rounder’s only boundary of the day, with Trent Boult having him caught in the deep for 23 off 24.
But Jadeja came in and at least helped India to bring up the ton, hitting 26 of 19 balls, one of only two batters along with Rahul to score at more than a run-a-ball.
There were just two sixes and ten boundaries in total in India’s innings, leaving them needing a superb showing from the bowlers to avoid a second straight World Cup loss.
Guptill got the chase off to a strong start in the Powerplay, hitting all but four of his team’s runs before falling for 20 in the fourth over to Jasprit Bumrah.
But Mitchell and Williamson kept things ticking over through the Powerplay, before Mitchell unleashed, eventually falling for 49 off 35 with the win within reach.
It was captain Williamson who scored the winning runs at the end of a classic anchor-innings, finishing with 33* off 31 balls and sealing the victory in the 15th over.
Defeat is India’s second of the tournament, following on from the loss to Pakistan in their Group 2 opener.
And Virat Kohli’s side will now most likely need to beat remaining opponents Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia while hoping that other results and the net run rate equation goes their way if they are to make it into the final four.
New Zealand’s win gets points on the board for Williamson’s side, but they still trail Pakistan and Afghanistan at the top of the group.