Trent Boult’s sensational spell of 4/33 and some good support from Lockie Ferguson and James Neesham helped New Zealand beat India by six wickets in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 warm-up encounter at The Oval on Saturday. The Indian top-order was blown away with Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli falling cheaply. Hardik Pandya chipped in but it took Ravindra Jadeja’s counter-attacking 54 to help India reach a total of some respectability. Speaking after the loss, Jadeja said the team need not worry about this loss and they still had some opportunities to iron out certain weaknesses ahead of the tournament.
“This is our first game, it is just one game and we can't judge players on one bad inning, one bad match. So nothing to worry as a batting unit. It is always difficult in England, you are coming from India, where you play in flat wicket ... we still have time to work on it. There is nothing to worry, just keep playing good cricket. As a batting unit, we will work harder on our batting skills, everyone has a lot of experience, so nothing to worry,” Jadeja said in the post-match press conference.
The Oval wicket was a different pitch as compared to the other wickets in England where batsmen have had a field day, posting totals in excess of 300 or 350 on a regular basis. Jadeja hoped that India would get better wickets to bat on as the tournament progressed.
“It was typical English conditions, the wicket was soft initially but it got better as the day progressed. We hope we don't get this much amount of grass and get a better wicket to bat in the World Cup,” Jadeja said.
India skipper Virat Kohli stressed the need of the middle order to step up in case the top order fails, as it happened in this match. “Didn't go to plan. Good challenge up front though. We can expect that in some places in England when conditions are overcast. From 50 for 4 to get to 180 was a good effort. In a tournament like the World Cup, the top order can go off sometimes, so Hardik getting runs, MS (Dhoni) absorbing pressure and Jadeja's fifty, those were good positives,” Kohli said.
India will now take on Bangladesh in the final ICC Cricket World Cup warm-up clash before their first ICC Cricket World Cup match against South Africa at the Rose Bowl, Southampton.