Shoaib Akhtar came forward to laud Ross Taylor after he not only anchored the New Zealand run chase but also helped them get past the finish line during the first ODI against India at the Seddon Park in Hamilton on Wednesday. Meanwhile, he also hailed the New Zealand team management for backing the veteran despite not being able to get the job done in T20Is.
''In the 50-overs format, Ross Taylor got full chance to show his ability and what he could not do in T20Is, he did it in the ODI match and repaid all his debts. This is the difference when you make long-term investments and show faith in horses that can run long races. Now, even our senior players Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez were ready but they were shown the door just because they could not perform'', said Shoaib Akhtar on his Youtube channel.
Meanwhile, the 'Rawalpindi Express' also mentioned that the Indian bowlers had an off day but it was important that they learn from their mistakes and come back strongly. He also highlighted that crucial drop catch by Kuldeep Yadav off Ravindra Jadeja which turned the entire complexion of the contest. The pace icon then added that the Men In Blue need to make a stronger comeback as the series is on the line.
New Zealand began their run-chase confidently with an 85-run opening partnership. Veteran batsman Ross Taylor brought up his 21st hundred in ODIs by scoring 109* from just 84 balls. Apart from Taylor, Henry Nicholls (78), and Tom Latham (69) also contributed their part with the bat in New Zealand’s successful run-chase.
The two teams will now collide in the second game of the three-match series on Saturday. The match will be played at the Eden Park in Auckland and the action will commence at 7:30 AM IST. This is a must-win contest for India in order to stay alive in the series. The third and final ODI will be played on February 11 at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.