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Hardik is important for us going into the future: MS Dhoni

Amit Mishra India
Amit Mishra. (Photo Source: BCCI)

After clean sweeping the Test series, India continued to press their dominance over the below par New Zealand side and registered a simple 6 wicket win at the HPCA stadium, Dharamsala to take a 1-0 lead in the 5 match series. The Kiwis put out a very disappointing performance today.

The batting order came a cropper and was rolled out for just 190. The situation could have been worse after the first innings had Tom Latham (79) and Tim Southee (55) not played inspiring knocks.  Virat Kohli then stroked his way to an unbeaten 85 to help the hosts chase the total down with 16 overs and 6 wickets to spare.

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MS Dhoni looks happy with overall performance by his boys. He began with praising the fast bowler of their match defining efforts and went on to appreciate Virat Kohli wonderful contrition with the bat.

MS Dhoni said: “Fantastic effort from the fast bowlers. We didn’t think the pitch will help them this much, they hit the good lengths (just short of full deliveries), especially Hardik – he exploited the length well, they bowled well and got regular wickets, the catching was excellent as well. Coming to the batting, Virat (Kohli) guided us well after the openers got us off to a fast start. Umesh is someone who can bowl quick and he’s getting faster. Hardik has an awkward action, it is difficult to pick his action up, we have bowlers who bowl quick, hitting regularly the 130 and 140 mark.”

“Hardik’s performance is important for us, if he continues to do well, then it will be good for us – going into the future, especially during batting – after the 30-over mark. The early wickets helped us, Axar and Mishra were good, but they need to hit consistent lines, they did go for runs, but this was a 280-300 wicket. It was important to bat in the middle, I was in no hurry with the bat, I wanted to spend some time, the more I bat, the better it will be. The target wasn’t big and I knew I could spend some time in the middle. The tosses will be important in all matches, especially considering the conditions, we need to be at our best.”

The poor performances in the series continued for the New Zealanders with this loss. They must come up with some good tactics to bring themselves back in the series. Williamson in the post-match presentation felt that Indians were very good at exploiting the conditions and accepted that the whole team was below par than their counterparts. Kane Williamson said: “Yeah, I think we had to weather the storm a little bit, the first 10 overs was pretty tough with the bat, we just didn’t get any partnerships going. They bowled well, there was some sideways movement, they exploited the conditions well, we needed to weather it, get into the middle overs, but there were some soft dismissals as well.”

“It looked worse at the half-way stage, but we scrapped well towards the end, we needed to take some early wickets, but they are a good chasing side and they showed it today. We were extremely below par in all areas today, we need to stick together, we are a tight unit, play our best cricket, then only we can beat a top team like India.”

Hardik Pandya rapid opening spell was one of the biggest highlights of India victory today. The fast bowling all-rounder picked 3/31 in his opening spell and was awarded the Man of the Match for his performance. Hardik Pandya said: “Getting a MoM award on debut is something very special. I got to know during the team meeting that Kapil Dev made his Test debut on this day, getting the ODI cap from him is something that I will cherish in my life. It’s good to be back, I was a bit nervous, I bowled a lot during the Australia A series tour and during the domestic season, that helped me get my rhythm early. I wanted to bowl the right lengths. On this wicket, the good length region was where the ball was doing something, I wanted to hit the length consistently.”

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