India middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer admitted that his team could have built more pressure and tried to have curbed the start which left-handed batter Tom Latham gave to New Zealand in their successful chase of 307 to win the ODI series opener by seven wickets at Eden Park on Friday.
Iyer had top-scored with 80 off 76 balls in India’s first innings total of 306/7 in 50 overs. The visitors’ had even reduced the hosts’ to 88/3 in 19.5 overs, before Latham hit a stunning career-best score of 145 not out off 104 balls, laced with 19 fours and five sixes, to give the Blackcaps a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
“Today’s learning will be that when we got that one wicket, we could have built bit more pressure on them. Like the way Latham gave them a start, if it would have been curbed in that situation, then definitely we would have been on top of them.”
“If at that time, we had placed fielders in attacking positions or would have been in his scoring arcs, then pressure would have been built and some changes could have come (in the match).”
“But this is now a learning and in the next match, we would see how much we can improve on as maintaining energy all the time in 50 overs is not easy. But that stand also went past 200 and fielders were bogged down a bit on a soft ground,” said Iyer in the post-match press conference.
Latham also stitched an unbeaten 221-run stand off 165 balls for the fourth wicket with skipper Kane Williamson, who was the perfect ally and was unconquered at 94 not out to chase down the total with seven wickets and 17 balls remaining. He also took 25 runs off the 40th over off Shardul Thakur, which got the match firmly in New Zealand’s favour.
“See, they played fantastic knocks, both of them. They knew which bowlers to target at a specific time. The way Latham took on that over, that completely shifted the momentum towards them. He wanted to come in and build on that partnership. Since they were playing together for so many years, I am sure they know about their strengths and weaknesses very closely.”
“I believe their partnership completely changed the scenario of the game and that was also a crucial phase for us as well to get a wicket. If we would have got one wicket, we would have been under their skin and situation would have been completely different.”
“But kudos to them for the way they found strength in that phase and converted those loose deliveries into brilliant boundaries and sixes. They were fearless in their approach and that’s what I feel that happened to reach where they were,” elaborated Iyer.
The right-handed batter felt that India had posted a good total, keeping in mind that they had lost four wickets for 36 runs in the middle overs phase. Iyer got India running towards a huge total by stitching a 94-run stand with Sanju Samson (36).
Off-spin all-rounder Washington Sundar applied finishing touches for India with an unbeaten blitz of 37 off 16 balls, smacking three fours and as many sixes to take India past 300 as 96 runs came off the last 10 overs.
“Considering the situation we were in, from there to get 307 is a very commendable effort. Definitely, some things were there which didn’t go our way. But it’s a learning curve and will go back to introspect. When we comeback in the next game, we will come with new ideas and will read a bit about how the wicket would behave there. Other than that, I felt that 307 was a good total.”
Iyer signed off by saying he was unaware if any changes will be made to India’s playing eleven for the second ODI at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Sunday. “I don’t know about the changes yet as what could happen after just one game. Also, this is the job of management, not mine.”
“We can only see that we are thorough with our preparations and keep our processes right. Won’t think too far as tomorrow is a rest day and we will rest a bit. We will come with all guns blazing on Sunday.”