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Intent was to fire some shots at the 'superstars' of cricket: NZ coach Stead after crushing India

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Dubai, Nov 1 (IANS) New Zealand team head coach Gary Stead has said his players knew they had to “lift their intensity” to counter an Indian team “full of superstars”, and he was happy that the Black Caps “fired some shots at them as well” in their demolition of the Virat Kohli-led side here on Sunday night.

Trent Boult (3/20) and Ish Sodhi (2/17) led a clinical show with the ball to set up New Zealand’s eight-wicket thrashing of India in an important Group 2 match of the ICC T20 World Cup at the Dubai International Stadium.

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After restricting India to a paltry 110/7 in 20 overs, New Zealand made light work of the chase, reaching home with 33 balls to spare as India’s bowlers struggled to make an impact.

“When you play a big team as star-studded as India are, then you actually have got to make sure you fire some shots at them as well. If you can put them under pressure, then hopefully it puts you on the upper-hand of the game for periods of time. The way our bowlers bowled in that first innings was absolutely superb.

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“They didn’t let India off at all… I think there were 71 balls bowled without a boundary hit from the sixth over, pretty amazing on a ground with a good surface,” Stead was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz.

The Black Caps, after an unimpressive start where they lost to Pakistan in the opening ‘Super 12’ game, are on course to secure a place in the semifinals, as they now play Scotland, Namibia and Afghanistan.

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“I thought the bowling effort was absolutely outstanding — possibly up there I think with the best performance I’ve seen in my time with the T20 bowling team,” Stead said.

“To restrict a star-studded team like India to 110 was really special and then I thought the batting was very clinical. The way we stuck to the plans that we had — we were prepared to be smart around the way we played, but also to fire some shots back at these guys.

“Because we wanted to make sure that we did take wickets still — that they weren’t going in to a death stage with their top quality players in still.”

Stead said the way Trent Boult came hunting for Rohit Sharma’s wicket from the first ball itself, and the way the Indian batter top-edged a bouncer from the paceman, gave him the indication the team was charged up for the contest.

Boult should have had Sharma out first ball, but Adam Milne spilled the chance.

“I think the example of Rohit being bounced first ball, showed to me that it was the courage, the bravery that we wanted to do. And we all know Rohit Sharma can hit the ball out of the park and he’s an amazing hooker of the ball. Our pre-match talks were about making sure we were in charge out there, and we were prepared to throw something at India that they may not expect.

“When (Trent) Boult starts bowling, people are generally looking at him to come and hit the stumps and hit front pad. So we thought ‘what can we do different here that perhaps puts them (India) on the back foot?’ And while the catch wasn’t taken (by Milne), the intent around what we were trying to do set the tone I think for the whole innings. The spinners were both outstanding as well,” added Stead.

–IANS

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