Images tell the story of the BLACKCAPS six wicket loss in the opening ODI against India in Dharamsala.
The setting: If you haven’t seen or heard how beautiful a place Dharamsala is, then you haven’t been paying enough attention to the BLACKCAPS Facebook and Instagram channels over the past few days. Quick refresher: it’s on the edge of the Himalayas and is arguably the most picturesque ground in the world. See below.
An overview: 1-0 India.
India proved too strong, claiming a six wicket victory and taking an early advantage in the five match series.
Opener Tom Latham was almost a lone soldier in the batting department, making an unbeaten 79 and becoming the first NZ opener to end as the not out batsman (and 10th amongst all countries).
Tim Southee blasted a career best 55 from 45 balls late on and between he and Latham, the BLACKCAPS scrapped to 190.
Following a quick start from their openers, Virat Kolhi anchored the India pursuit with an unbeaten 85. The vice-captain then brought proceedings to an end after 33.1 overs, hitting a six down the ground to bring up the winnings runs.
Early strikes: Umesh Yadav and debutant Hardik Pandya set the tone for the match in the opening 13 overs, reducing the BLACKCAPS to 48-5 with some impressive fast bowling up front. Where the match was won and lost.
Latham’s defiance: The BLACKCAPS opener has been a bright spot over the course of the tour, making four half-centuries in his last seven innings. He swept, he drove through cover and unfortunately, he watched far too many wickets fall at the other end.
Southee strikes big: Playing in his 100th ODI, Tim Southee came to the crease with the BLACKCAPS on dire straits at 106-8. With a previous high score of 32, hopes of a meaningful partnership may have been met with some scepticism, but after a 79 run stand with Latham, raising his bat for a half-century and becoming the first NZ number 10 to do so, he can certainly feel he made a contribution.
Honest effort: The BLACKCAPS were going to have to pull something special off with the ball and in the field, but a lack of early wickets all but ended the visitor’s slim hopes. No lack of intent or effort, but a mountain too tall to climb.
Virat: Mr Kolhi’s ODI record speaks for itself - an impressive 25 centuries and, after this match, 37 half-centuries. He guided his side through to the end in what was a chance-less display with the bat.
Up next: The second ODI is in New Delhi on Thursday. As Tom Latham said In the press conference post-match, the BLACKCAPS will be out to ‘right a few wrongs’.