It wasn’t a good day for the bowler with a broken left arm on the unhelpful HPCA surface but he has to be commended for coming back well with a stronger comeback spell.
The Indian pacers produced another quality bowling effort, but they came under pressure in the middle overs, something the captain wanted to leave behind in the past.
The dominant hosts have shown very few chinks in their armor at this World Cup, so this should be something to watch out for.
ICC World Cup 2023: India beat New Zealand by 4 wickets in Dharamshala
Centurion Daryl Mitchell (130 off 127 balls; 9×4, 5×6) – who resurrected New Zealand’s innings in the company of Rachin Ravindra (75 off 87) – showed a bold, new approach against Kuldeep that almost led to the unmasking of India’s premier middle-order batsman in recent times.
Leggie has one 5-goal haul and four 4-goal hauls, including three this year and one in 2022.
Kuldeep’s lack of early effectiveness only revealed the extent of India’s reliance on newly revived wicket-spinning prowess. The return of Hardik Pandya will undoubtedly rebalance the line-up, but without Kuldeep making a breakthrough in the middle, India look like a different bowling unit.
Mitchell scored 42 off 26 balls from Kuldeep, including three sixes and two fours, the best by an individual against a bowler in ODIs.
The bowlers in general were not helped by the fact that the Indian fielders were a little wary of giving their best effort on a sub-par Dharamshala pitch, but they also dropped three catches – once to Ravindra and twice to Mitchell – which cannot be blamed on the outfield.
Effective return Mohammed Shami (5/54 from his 10 overs) and a stunning new-ball performance in the first Powerplay from Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj deserve to be celebrated. But New Zealand dug themselves out of a hole thanks to a 159-run partnership between Mitchell and Ravindra and their ability to take on Kuldeep right from the start.
Mitchell, who took the bold option of breaking the bowlers’ lengths by lining up outside the crease, starting with a backward bounce from Shami. But it was Kuldeep whose attacking approach took him by surprise.
The pacers, led by Shami, caused a late collapse as the Kiwis went from 243-5 to 273. But Mitchell and co. they just showed other teams how to neutralize India’s wicket-taking spinners in the middle overs.
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