Tour review

New Zealand vs India, 2018-19

Mark Geenty

One-day internationals (5): New Zealand 1, India 4
Twenty20 internationals (3): New Zealand 2, India 1

The last time India toured New Zealand, early in 2014, they lost the one-dayers 4-0. The rematch was one of the most eagerly awaited series since, with the sides ranked second and third in the world locking horns. But it wasn't even close: fresh from Test and one-day series wins across the Tasman, India ruled the roost, a shock for New Zealand fans accustomed to their side being hard to beat at home.

Virat Kohli had squeezed in a visit to Melbourne to chat with tennis great (and cricket fan) Roger Federer at the Australian Open, before his team boarded the plane to Auckland in search of another tick on their World Cup checklist. They got it, in bold print. The 4-1 margin in the 50-over matches looked comprehensive on paper, and in reality it was even more convincing. Their only defeat came at Hamilton, with the series already sealed. Kane Williamson won a crucial toss, then swing and seam from Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme skittled India for 92. But Kohli's men took everything else in their stride, including a peculiar delay in the opening match at Napier, where the setting sun caused a 40-minute hold-up.

Five years previously, New Zealand's lowest total in five ODIs was 271; now their highest was 243, demonstrating the excellence of the Indian attack, with Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar sharing the new ball, before wrist-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav took up the cudgels. The seamers were so effective that Colin Munro was briefly dropped, and Henry Nicholls pushed up the order. Williamson never really got going, a modest 64 his highest score of the series.

After Kohli piloted his team to victory at Napier, it was announced he would return home after the third match to rest: and he signed off in style; his 60 at Mount Maunganui sealed the series. India were already without one of their standout performers in Australia, Jasprit Bumrah, who was rested, but allrounder Hardik Pandya returned to the fold after the second match, having been suspended, along with K. L. Rahul, for inappropriate comments on an Australian TV chat show.

But even with some of the big names absent, India's fans flocked in. Just under 37,000 people crammed Eden Park for the second Twenty20 international. The decibel level was much louder for the tourists, and helped them to victory. But the home fans got to cheer as well, as New Zealand pinched the T20 series. Munro was more effective in the shorter format, and formed a dynamic opening partnership with Tim Seifert. They set up two totals in excess of 200, which Mitchell Santner's canny spin helped defend.

© John Wisden & Co