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04 December 2023

Dhoni lashes out at India's batsmen for shock defeat

India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni plays a shot during World Twenty20 cricket tournament New Zealand v India at Nagpur, India, 15/03/2016. (Reuters)


Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed his batsmen for their shock 47-run loss to New Zealand in the opening World Twenty20 group match in Nagpur on Tuesday.

India's batsmen folded at the hands of New Zealand's spinners, recording just 79 runs in 18.1 overs - their lowest ever T20 score on home soil - as they tried to chase down the Kiwis' modest total of 126.

India's previous lowest total at home was 92 against South Africa in Cuttack last year.

"I thought we restricted them to a good total (but) the batting let us down, the shot selection kept putting pressure on the batsmen coming in and there was no partnership in the middle," said Dhoni.

Hosts India, fresh from winning the Asia Cup, had been firm favourites to become the first team ever to win the World T20 title for a second time, as they began their quest Tuesday in the Super 10 stage of the tournament.

But New Zealand's slow bowlers stunned the raucous home crowd in Nagpur, with left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner leading the show with a four-wicket haul in a miserly spell.

"They bowled well, exploited the conditions, but we lacked adaptability, we could have applied ourselves a bit more," Dhoni said.

Santner, whose figures of 4-11 were the best for a New Zealander in T20 cricket, was well supported by Indian-born leg-spinner Ish Sodhi and off-spinner Nathan McCullum, who shared five wickets between them on a slow track.

A delighted New Zealand captain Kane Williamson paid tribute to his bowlers, after conceding that their total was lower than what they had been hoping for.

"But the way the boys bowled was simply outstanding. They get a win to start off a competition against such a tough side like India," he said.

New Zealand have now won five of their six T20 internationals against India, while the other match was rained off.

India were never in the chase after losing their openers early and, with the exception of Virat Kohli (23), none of the Indian top order could come up with any answers to the inspired Kiwi attack.