India bowled out for one of its lowest ODI scores in history
India has been bowled out for one of their lowest totals in history, managing a meagre total of just 92 in the fourth ODI of their tour of New Zealand. The total came after the home side won the toss and elected to field first on a pitch which offered plenty for the bowlers. Adding to the difficulties faced by India was the absence of Virat Kohli of MS Dhoni, the former of whom was rested and the latter of whom was nursing a hamstring complaint.
The loss of the best batsman in the world no doubt hurt them, but Dhoni hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire for a while now, meaning the collapse can hardly be blamed on his absence.
It started early, with Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme snaring three and two wickets respectively in their opening spells, leaving the visitors reeling at 5/33 after 12 overs. By the end of the innings, Boult had been the main destroyer, ending with figures of 5/21 off 10 overs, while de Grandhomme managed 3/26. The Kiwis chased the total down in just 14.4 overs for the loss of two wickets.
The low total was an enormous surprise considering firstly India's talent – even in the absence of Kohli and Dhoni – and the way the series had gone to date. In the first ODI, India chased down their target of 156 for the loss of just two wickets in 34 overs. In the second, they put up 4/324 to win by 90 runs, and in the third they scored 3/245 in 43 overs while chasing 244. The number two ODI side in the world, India was in some serious form, even against the number three ranked Kiwis.
The collapse gave them their seventh lowest ODI total in history, something nobody would have expected with a batting lineup of this caliber. The last time they scored a lower total was in 2010 – incidentally also against New Zealand – when they were rolled for 88 in a chase of 288. Prior to that it was 2006, when they were all out for 91 against South Africa, while the only other time this century came in 2000 when they scored their lowest ever score of 54 against Sri Lanka. All other occasions came over 30 years ago, soon after the introduction of one-day cricket to the calendar.
Those occasions, however, came at a time which made a little more sense than this one. Their 2010 collapse occurred during a tri-series between Sri Lanka, India and New Zealand, a series which was dominated by bowlers and saw India finish second with a 2-2 record. In 2006 against South Africa, they were demolished throughout the series, losing 3-0 and failing to score more than 168 or bat out an innings.
The 2000 score of 54 occurred during the final of a tri-series involving India, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe – in that series, India managed to sneak over the line against a mediocre Zimbabwe team, and were comprehensively beaten the three times that they faced Sri Lanka.
And heading back to the low scoring efforts in the late 1970s and 1980s – a couple of those occasions were outliers in the context of the series, but they occurred in a time when ODI's were a new concept and average scores were significantly lower than they are today.
Which only serves to make this effort even more surprising. This five match ODI series was already over, India having claimed the first three to take an insurmountable 3-0 lead. Certainly, New Zealand deserve some credit. Trent Boult is a world class bowler, ranked 10th in the world in the ODI rankings, and India are not the first side he has flown through – it was only a few short weeks ago that he rolled through Sri Lanka with ease, ending the first innings of the second Test with figures of 6/30.
Perhaps Kohli would have been a steadying force coming in at 2/23, while the same could be said for Dhoni, who would've entered the fray at a very precarious 5/33. Regardless of the talent that was missing, however, India boasts a batting lineup with plenty of other talented batsmen, and for them to put up the seventh lowest total in India's ODI history is a huge outlier. Maybe they switched off after claiming the series in three matches. Whatever the reason, it would be a safe bet that it won't be happening again in Game 5 – particularly with Kohli back in the mix.