Not the kind of start India wanted, leading to a defeat to New Zealand, but then again, it was a warm-up game and Team India has a general tendency to not take warm-up games that very seriously.
This time though, they went a step further and decided to bat first on a pitch that had grass on it. Enough grass for Wimbledon authorities to consider playing some tennis warm-up matches at The Oval too and enough for both, the New Zealand coach, Gary Stead and pacer Trent Boult to admit the latter is a changed bowler in such conditions.
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“Road Closed” but all roads led to The Oval today. Capacity crowd for a warm-up game that ends in disappointment for Team India. . . . . . #indvnz #cricket #sport #CWC19 #cricketworldcup #worldcup #indiancricket #indiancricketteam #indvsnz #cricketlover #cricketlovers #indiancricketfans #london #thekiaoval #theoval #nzvind
Most remarkably, every New Zealand team member who came out for the post-match media interview – or the mixed media zone as they call it as well – was happy to attribute India’s defeat to luck or just another thing in a warm-up game or even ‘the conditions were that much tougher for them’. In other words, not reading anything from the win, or refusing to pull the opponent down.
Boult went up to the extent of talking down Kuldeep Yadav’s form with the ball, or a suggestion from an Indian scribe that his mystery days were behind him, noting these weren’t conditions for spin bowlers anyway.
When asked whether there was any plans for Virat Kohli, Boult looked almost embarrassed and said the Indian captain was unlucky in the way he got out. Ha.
New Zealand has never won a World Cup yet but time and again, they have won quite a few hearts and this was another occasion where it did not surprise me one bit to see them being that extra-bit generous with their words for their opposition.
(Bet, Brad Haddin still doesn’t like it though.)