First ODI: Ajinkya Rahane learnt his lessons well, New Zealand didn't

Some of Ajinkya Rahane's shots were just perfect

After handing a serious drubbing in Test matches, India have started their ODI campaign with an emphatic win against New Zealand in Dharamsala. New Zealand batsmen again failed their team with an atrocious display against a disciplined Indian pace bowling. The New Zealand batsmen took no time in trying to settle and gauge the conditions as they threw their bats around, gifting their wickets to inexperienced Indian pace attack led by Umesh Yadav. India won the match by 6 wickets and never looked like losing.

The level of New Zealand batting was so bad that at one point they were losing wickets in every over. They were 6 down for 60 odd runs and were heading towards a batting collapse when Tim Southee, the lanky pace bowler, came out to bat seven down. Opener Tom Latham maintained his composure throughout the innings and played with caution on the tricky Dharamsala pitch and conditions. He along with Tim Southee took team total to 190 runs. Latham returned not out at 79, whereas Southee scored a brisk 55.

New Zealand batsmen looked vulnerable against pace and spin in equal measure. Hardik Pandya, who was making his debut in ODIs, appeared unplayable for them as they nicked and edged his quick deliveries. Bumrah and Umesh also troubled them with their pace, swing and bounce. The Kiwi batsmen couldn’t play even spin as they gave away their wickets to Kedar Jadhav and Amit Mishra who took two and three wickets respectively. Tim Southee and Latham played some attractive shots. Southee dispatched a few balls by spinners to sixes. They played with belief; hence could score.

They were this clueless when Ashwin wreck havoc in the second innings of the third Test match. Ashwin scalped seven New Zealand wickets applying the same technique. And the batsmen were like sitting ducks, handing their wickets to the clever bowler without even a fight. It seems New Zealand have not learnt their lessons. They will have to do some serious thinking if they want to pose any challenge to the mighty Indians.

As India came out to bat, openers Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane paid respect to New Zealand pace attack. They played to the merit of balls, not repeating the mistakes committed by New Zealand batsmen. Mr Dependable Virat Kohli saw India home. He scored 85 runs. All the Indian batsmen got starts but only Kohli scored a half-century.

Watch: Rahane’s class

Ajinkya Rahane might have only scored 33 runs, but he looked in perfect form. He was timing his shots perfectly. Some of his shots were breathtakingly beautiful. Some of his shots resembled Sachin Tendulkar’s. Can there be any bigger a compliment for the batsman? Ajinkya Rahane, who had struggled with bouncers in Third Test during his 188-run innings, came all prepared. The predictable New Zealand quick bowlers were dismissed to mighty sixes when they bowled him short. Rahane had done his homework, the Kiwis hadn’t. India lead the 5-match series 1-0.

Watch: Rahane’s range of shots in an old match against England.