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Kiwi gamble puts India in a spin

By Agence France Presse In Wellington | China Daily | Updated: 2016-03-17 08:49

New Zealand media on Wednesday hailed as a "masterstroke" the bold selection behind the Black Caps' stunning win over India in the World Twenty 20 opener.

"What a twist", trumpeted Fairfax NZ's website after New Zealand's unheralded spinners tweaked the Black Caps to a 47-run victory over the hosts in Nagpur.

"Selection masterstroke turns the cricket world on its head, as NZ spinners slay India," it said, refering to coach Mike Hesson's decision to opt for a three-pronged spin attack and omit seamers Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

The gambit paid off spectacularly as the slow bowlers took nine wickets on a dust bowl, including four for 11 from man-of-the match Mitchell Santner.

"India, the world No 1 ranked T20 side and tournament favorites, were undone at their own game in their own conditions," the site said, pointing out New Zealand had now won its past five T20 matches against India.

The New Zealand Herald declared it the best possible start to the tournament for the Black Caps, who face Australia on Friday.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell said the tactic was reminiscent of the recently deceased New Zealand great Martin Crowe's decision to open with spin at the 1992 World Cup, when the Black Caps made the semifinals.

"Martin Crowe was way ahead of himself back in 1992 when he introduced it with Dipak Patel," Chappell told Cricinfo.

"(He) had a lot of success ... after what we have seen tonight there will be more teams adapting that tactic."

Former New Zealand paceman Simon Doull said India came unstuck by using home advantage to prepare a spin-friendly wicket, rather than trusting in the quality of its batsmen.

"It doesn't happen very often like that, that India get spun out," he told Radio Sport.

"I think India have a terrific side, they just need to play on good surfaces because their batting is so good. They don't need to make pitches like this."

West Indies legend Brian Lara said defeat meant the hosts were unlikely to prepare such a "disappointing" wicket again, adding: "This could be the early lesson India needed to go all the way."

England allrounder Ben Stokes joked that he had not seen such a poor quality deck since he was a schoolboy growing up in his native New Zealand.

"The astro-turf pitch with cigarette burns on a length at my old school was a better than that wicket," he tweeted.

Dhoni blames batsmen

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed his batsmen for the shock loss.

India's batsmen folded at the hands of New Zealand's spinners, recording just 79 runs in 18.1 overs - their lowest ever T20 score on home soil - as they tried to chase down the Kiwis' modest total of 126.

India's previous lowest total at home was 92 against South Africa in Cuttack last year.

"I thought we restricted them to a good total (but) the batting let us down, the shot selection kept putting pressure on the batsmen coming in and there was no partnership in the middle," said Dhoni.

Host India, fresh from winning the Asia Cup, had been firm favorite to become the first team to win the World T20 title for a second time, as it began its quest on Tuesday in the Super 10 stage of the tournament.

But New Zealand's slow bowlers stunned the raucous home crowd in Nagpur, with left-arm spinner Santner leading the show with a four-wicket haul in a miserly spell.

"They bowled well, exploited the conditions, but we lacked adaptability, we could have applied ourselves a bit more," Dhoni said.


 Kiwi gamble puts India in a spin

New Zealand's Mitchell Santner celebrates taking the wicket of India's Hardik Pandya during the World T20 tournament on Tuesday.Danish Siddiqui / Reuters

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