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.


Tottenham look to seize on Chelsea’s Premier League slump

Updated 21 February 2020

Tottenham look to seize on Chelsea’s Premier League slump

LONDON: Jose Mourinho had almost reached the end of his lament about the current situation facing his weary Tottenham players when he turned his attention to their next Premier League game against a team he knows so well.

“The Chelsea players were watching this game on TV,” Mourinho said after Tottenham’s 1-0 home loss to Leipzig in the Champions League, “with nice sparkling water, with lemons and biscuits, enjoying the game.”

If only the outlook at Chelsea were so rosy.

Indeed, recent results suggest the predicament of Mourinho’s old club is more concerning than Tottenham’s.

Chelsea, somehow, find themselves still holding onto fourth place in the league heading into Saturday’s London derby against their nearest rivals in the race for Champions League qualification. That’s despite collecting only 15 points from its last 14 games, a dire run stretching back to the end of November.

At that time, Chelsea were on a six-match winning streak — its best since the team’s title-winning season of 2016-17 — and wasn’t too far behind Liverpool, the current runaway leader. Youngsters like Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori were regular starters, given their opportunity by an up-and-coming manager in Frank Lampard who is eager to promote youth. US winger Christian Pulisic was in his best form since his move from
Borussia Dortmund.

Fast forward three months and injuries are starting to bite, the kids are starting to feel the pace in a grueling season, and Lampard — a bright, eloquent and engaging manager — has been grumbling about the club’s failure to add numbers to the squad in January and his players’
wastefulness in front of goal.

“I must sound like a broken record,” a clearly frustrated Lampard said after seeing Chelsea get picked off in a 2-0 home loss to Manchester United on Monday.

Lampard’s main gripe is the team’s inability to finish off chances, which has become more pronounced with Abraham — a scorer of 13 league goals this season — currently out injured.

With Callum Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic also missing against United, Lampard played a front three of Willian, Michy Batshuayi and Pedro Rodriguez — a throwback to a few years ago and an era Chelsea fans probably thought they’d seen the back of.

Key midfielder N’Golo Kante joined Abraham on the injury list after going off early against United, while Lampard is still playing 38-year-old Willy Caballero in goal after dropping Kepa Arrizabalaga — signed in 2018 as the world’s most expensive goalkeeper.

It’s an uncertain period for Lampard, who is still a rookie in managerial terms, and Chelsea’s recent slump has seen as many as seven teams move within seven points or closer in the standings.

In that three-month period, Tottenham have won 29 points — a haul second only to Liverpool. That coincided exactly with Mourinho taking over as manager from Mauricio Pochettino.

The issue, now, is whether Spurs can keep it up, and Mourinho clearly has his doubts. With attackers Son Heung-min and Harry Kane out potentially for the rest of the season, Mourinho likened his team to someone “going to fight with a gun without bullets.”

Amid a hectic schedule that has seen his team play two FA Cup replays since the turn of the year, Mourinho said he has been forced to start with the same group of players for matches every three of four days. Erik Lamela and Tanguy Ndombele came off the bench against Leipzig having barely trained.

“I try to manage the pieces that we had,” he said.

Throw in the fact that Tottenham has a tight turnaround after the Leipzig match — Wednesday night to Saturday lunchtime — and Mourinho will feel he has genuine cause for grievance.

Yet, he is managing to scramble together results and a win at Stamford Bridge, where he previously enjoyed two separate trophy-winning spells as coach and was once revered, would see Tottenham climb above Chelsea.

Outmanoeuvring Mourinho, his former coach, in a 2-0 win at Tottenham in December was one of the few bright spots for Lampard in recent months. 

Doing so again would give him and Chelsea some much-needed breathing space in what is suddenly a bunched chase for Champions League qualification.