Dhoni warns of New Zealand threat

LONDON - India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has highlighted New Zealand as a threat to his side’s hopes of defending their World Twenty20 title in England.

By (AFP)

Published: Tue 2 Jun 2009, 3:17 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:48 AM

The Black Caps beat India, champions in South Africa two years ago, by nine runs in a warm-up match at Lord’s on Monday to extended their impressive record against Dhoni’s men in cricket’s shortest format.

New Zealand had previously won three straight Twenty20s against India and, although this latest match was not an official contest, they enjoyed another morale boosting success at Lord’s after struggling early on.

“If you look at their side they have loads of guys that can really contribute,” Dhoni told reporters. “They’re a really good side when it comes to the Twenty20 format and the conditions here suit them.”

New Zealand, who face Australia in another warm-up match at the Oval on Tuesday, saw Indian Premier League star Ross Taylor, dropped by Dhoni, go on to make 41 while left-hander James Franklin bolstered their total with two sixes and a four in the final over as they finished on 170 for seven.

India were on course for victory during a fourth-wicket stand of 69 between Suresh Raina (45) and Ravindra Jadeja (41) which featured some superb clean hitting to match the top-order fireworks of opener Rohit Sharma (36).

But Raina’s dismissal by all-rounder Jacob Oram was the cue for a slump and, with New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori taking three for 24 with his left-arm spin, the Black Caps regained their grip on the game.

Nevertheless, India were without two of their star batsmen in Yuvraj Singh (stomach illness) and Virender Sehwag (shoulder injury) although both are expected to be available for Wednesday’s warm-up match against arch-rivals Pakistan at the Oval.

“I am quite disappointed with the defeat but we have back-up plans and so I’m not really worried,” Dhoni said. “Besides, we missed quite a few key players. A couple of guys had food poisoning but I’m sure everyone will be fine before our next warm-up game.”

One positive sign to emerge for India from Monday’s match was the form of fast bowler Ishant Sharma, who took four for 25.

“I think it would give him great deal of confidence,” Dhoni said. “He is a bowler who should be bowling at the start and also in the end. In between he came and got us those crucial wickets.”

Meanwhile Taylor said the way in which New Zealand rallied with both bat and ball was a heartening sign for the side.

“I think 170 was a par score on that wicket and we had enough momentum to have a go at the end,” Taylor said. “The way James Franklin finished that last over was excellent.”

He added: “The way we started (bowling) was probably a little disappointing but the way we pegged them back, for us to do well in this tournament we will have to bowl like that.”

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