India lose to NZ again, handed 1st ODI whitewash since 1997

India’s Ravindra Jadeja makes his ground during the ODI match between India and New Zealand in Tauranga, New Zealand. (AP)
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Updated 11 February 2020

India lose to NZ again, handed 1st ODI whitewash since 1997

  • Wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took 3-47 from his 10 overs as India managed to squeeze New Zealand between the 30th and 40th overs

MOUNT MAUNGANUI: India slumped to their first whitewash in a one-day series in 23 years as half-centuries by Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls and Colin de Grandhomme set up New Zealand’s five-wicket win in the third internationa lon Tuesday.

Guptill’s 66 from 46 balls, which included a 50 from 29 deliveries, gave New Zealand a speedy start in pursuit of India’s 296-7.

Nicholls made 80 from 103 balls to add solidity, putting on 106 in an opening stand with Guptill and 53 for the third wicket with captain Kane Williamson (22), who missed the first two matches with a shoulder injury.

De Grandhomme then finished the chase, hitting his half-century from 21 balls and finishing 58 not out in an unbroken 80-run partnership with Tom Latham (32), which carried New Zealand to 300-5.

Not since 1997, in a 3-0 defeat against Sri Lanka, had India been swept in an ODI series containing three or more matches. New Zealand bounced back from their own 5-0 loss to India in the Twenty20 series.

New Zealand began to lose their way in the middle of their innings, quickly losing Williamson, Ross Taylor (12) and Jimmy Neesham (19), slumping to 220-5 in the 40th over.

Wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took 3-47 from his 10 overs as India managed to squeeze New Zealand between the 30th and 40th overs.

But Latham and De Grandhomme patiently batted New Zealand within sight of victory, then burly all-rounder De Grandhomme was able to hit out with three sixes and six fours to lift New Zealand to victory with 17 balls to spare.

“An outstanding performance, very clinical,” Williamson said.

“India put us under pressure in every game in the series. They managed to do that again in the first half but the way the guys fought back with the ball and perhaps kept India to a par total on that surface, and the cricket smarts in the second half, was outstanding.”

Earlier, K.L. Rahul posted his fourth ODI century and shared two century partnerships to anchor India’s innings after they were sent in on losing the toss.

Mayank Agarwall (1) and captain Virat Kohli (9) were out cheaply but Rahul built the innings in partnerships of exactly 100 for the fourth wicket with Shreyas Iyer (62) and 107 for the fifth with Manish Pandey (42).

India looked set for a total well in excess of 300 when they were 161-3 after 30 overs.  But it didn’t finish as strongly as it should have, adding only 49 for the loss of three wickets in the last 10 overs.

Rahul reached his century from 104 balls and was out with the total 269-5 in the 47th over.

With the ball, only Chahal was able to impose concerted pressure on the New Zealand batsmen. He began by bowling Guptill with a classic leg break which pitched on leg, beat the bat and hit off stump.

India’s key bowler, Jasprit Bumrah, went without a wicket in the series, finishing with 0-167 from 30 overs.


Lower expectations for Barcelona entering Champions League

Updated 20 October 2020

Lower expectations for Barcelona entering Champions League

  • Barca have not won since 2015, but since then have never embarked on a new campaign amid so much disarray

MADRID: Despite managing to hang onto Lionel Messi, Barcelona begin its Champions League campaign with reduced expectations after one of their worst seasons in years.
The Catalan club appears to lack its confidence from previous seasons following an embarrassing elimination to Bayern Munich and a troubled off-season in which it nearly lost its talisman.

“Knowing what happened recently, we are not the top favorite,” coach Ronald Koeman said on Monday ahead of the team's debut in this season's competition against Hungarian club Ferencvaros. “But we are a team that can go far.”

Koeman arrived to put Barcelona back on track shortly after the 8-2 collapse against Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, which capped their first season without a title since 2007-08.

“Barcelona always plays to win titles, in the league and in Europe, but there are other strong teams,” Koeman said.

Barcelona have not  won the Champions League since 2015, but since then they had never embarked on a new campaign in the competition amid so much disarray.

The club avoided losing Messi after he said he wanted to leave, but it continued to endure political turmoil and even financial difficulties. President Josep Bartomeu is facing a censure motion that could force him to leave his post before the end of the year.

Koeman was given the task of revamping the first team, and he quickly got rid of veterans such as Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic, but the club failed to bring in any of the players he wanted in the transfer window.

Koeman said Messi is fine despite scoring just once so far this season.

“Maybe his performance could be better, but I see him happy,” Koeman said. “I see him training well and focused. I have nothing to complain about him in that sense.”

He said “a bit of bad luck” has played a role in keeping the Argentina star from scoring more goals so far. Koeman also downplayed criticism of Antoine Griezmann for his recent poor performances, though he admitted that “everyone in the attack” can improve.

Barcelona opened the Spanish league with two convincing wins under Koeman, but then it drew 1-1 with Sevilla at home and lost 1-0 at Getafe on Saturday.

Hungarian champions Ferencvaros return to the Champions League for the first time since 1995. They needed to get through four qualifying rounds to reach the group stage.

The other Group G teams are Juventus and Dynamo Kyiv.

“We want to start with the right foot,” Koeman said. “We want to win the match and gain tranquility.”