New Zealand batter Daryl Mitchell lauded India’s death-bowling masterclass in their four-wicket win in the World Cup clash at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala on Sunday.
Leading the charge from 19 for two, number four Mitchell struck a flawless hundred even as the Black Caps frittered away from a position of strength at 187 for three after 35 overs to 273 all out within the next 90 deliveries. Returning to the playing XI after a month and featuring in his first World Cup match this edition, seamer Mohammed Shami wreaked havoc in the death overs with three wickets, including Mitchell (130) off the penultimate ball of the innings.
“I think we set the platform there at the 35-over mark. I think it was very similar to what India was at that stage and we knew that India’s got a world-class death-bowling unit. For us, it was trying to cash in at the end,” Mitchell said after registering his fourth ODI ton this year.
Shami (five for 54) was adjudged the Player of the Match after combining with the pace of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj to give away just 144 runs in 30 overs while accounting for seven wickets.
“The way India bowled was pretty special. Shami got the rewards, but also Bumrah. The way they and Siraj took wickets - those 30 overs probably held us back a bit. But we also knew that if we could have taken wickets early, as we showed in the middle, and kept applying pressure then we’d have taken the game deep to do a Black Caps and keep fighting to the end, and you never know,” Mitchell remarked.
While the rare second-innings fog interruption offered a unique experience, the much-condemned Dharamsala outfield did not bother the 32-year-old.
“It was strange, wasn’t it? I have experienced it before in first-class cricket in Karori Park in Wellington when the fog came in. This game continues to provide wonderful things. It was an amazing experience, that’s for sure. This is a beautiful place to play cricket. You can only look up at the mountains and it looks amazing.”
“For us, we’ve got standards within our Black Caps that you come and do everything you can to help us win games of cricket. Part of that is diving on the boundary and stopping the ball when you get the chance, and that’s something we’re proud of ourselves. We’ll continue to do it no matter where we play in the world,” Mitchell added.
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