New Zealand speedster Mitchell McClenaghan said that the early dismissals of Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant hurt Team India in the first ODI against New Zealand in Auckland on Friday, November 25. While refusing to criticize the Indian openers for not showing much aggression, he applauded Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill for laying a solid foundation.

Team India lost to New Zealand by seven wickets in the opening ODI of the three-match ODI series. Batting first, they posted 306/7 on the board. While Dhawan and Gill scored the fifties, they finished their innings with strike rates of 93.51 and 76.92, respectively as well. However, after Tom Latham smashed a stunning 145* off 104 balls in the chase, questions were raised over whether Team India’s openers played in a conservative manner.

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But, denying with this, McClenaghan said while speaking to ESPNcricinfo:

“Shikhar Dhawan and Shubman Gill batted beautifully at the top. With the two new white balls, you do need to build a base at the top. They set an exceptional platform. “You wouldn’t have expected Suryakumar Yadav to get out third-ball. He’s been the most in-form batsman around the world. And then Pant (got out) as well. Those guys had the platform to kick on.”

“If you want to make 320-330, you want Surya there for some time” – Wasim Jaffer

 "If you want to make 320-330, you want Surya there for some time" - Wasim Jaffer
“If you want to make 320-330, you want Surya there for some time” – Wasim Jaffer

Meanwhile, sharing his views on Team India’s batting performance, former India opener Wasim Jaffer said that the loss of four wickets in the middle overs cost them a lot. He explained:

“120/0 was a perfect setup for a score like 320-330. But then it became 160/4. Surya got out. If you want to make 320-330, you want Surya there for some time. Shreyas Iyer and Sanju Samson played a great part. At one stage it looked like they might get 260-270, but Washington Sundar played that cameo and they reached 306. But losing those four wickets from 120 to 160 set them back.”

However, Team India slipped from 124/0 to 160/4 after putting into bat. Shreyas Iyer (80 off 76) and Sanju Samson (36 off 38) stitched 94 for the fifth wicket to bring the team back into the game. Notably, a quickfire cameo from Washington Sundar (37* off 16) helped India reach past the 300-run mark as well.

While refusing to talk about the Indian openers for not scoring quickly, Jaffer admitted that it’s an area where the team India need to work on as both batters cannot bat at a similar pace as well. While Gill was dismissed for 50 off 65, Dhawan scored 72 off 77 balls. The former opener again said:

“When you have a good partnership going, one batsman has to be super aggressive. Both batters can’t play in the same manner. It puts you behind the game. Both Indian batters were looking to get aggressive, but got out pretty close to each other.”

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