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Taylor, Latham tons boost New Zealanders’ prep

Centuries from Ross Taylor and Tom Latham, whose 166-run fourth-wicket stand powered New Zealand to 343 for 9, consigned Board President’s XI to a 30-run defeat in the second warm-up match in Mumbai. Despite a four-wicket haul from left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat and fifties from Karun Nair and Gurkeerat Singh, New Zealand hung on to bowl the President’s XI out for 310 in the 48th over. ESPNcricinfo takes a look at the highlights from the game:

Taylor-made

Taylor’s struggle in India last year was validated by his inability to register a half-century in five ODIs. On Thursday, he struck a punishing century that featured several glorious cover drives and perfectly-timed square-cuts. He was, however, handed a reprieve in the 32nd over, when Shreyas Iyer dropped a sharp chance at backward point. Taylor muscled 15 boundaries all around the ground, including an inside-out six over long-off, followed by a cut off consecutive balls in the 21st over.

Latham’s bid for the long haul

If the half-century in the previous game had been an unfulfilled statement of intent, Latham’s 97-ball 108 on Thursday was the step-up in class and confidence he needed. He used the same clinical application of his technique that had helped finish as New Zealand’s highest run-scorer in the ODI series last year. Coming in at 73 for 3, Latham swept the spinners regularly, and had little trouble against pace. He brought up his century with a wristy six before retiring out for 108. “It [the middle-order batting position] is obviously a little bit of change from the last couple of years but that is something that we have discussed about moving to that position. It was nice to get familiar with that role today,” Latham said of his knock.

The Munro squib

With New Zealand coach Mike Hesson wanting quicker starts at the top of the other, Colin Munro opened the batting on both occasions in the warm-up games. He scored 26 in both innings, with his failure to capitalise on starts an indicator that his belligerent template may be suited for the middle order. If the game offered anything for Munro to take heart from, it would be the two wickets of Iyer and Nair he snaffled off consecutive deliveries.

Karn and turn

Each of the eight overs Karn Sharma bowled featured, at least, one variation that elicited a collective sigh of agony either from the fielders or the 750-odd spectators that flocked to the Northern Block of the Brabourne Stadium. The one that took most of them by surprise came off the back of a tactful ploy. Called on to bowl the tenth over, Karn darted the first two balls of his opening spell full on a middle-and-leg line to Kane Williamson. He drew the New Zealand captain forward with the third – a relatively slower and loopy legbreak. Playing the line of the delivery, Williamson offered a meticulous front-foot defense. His failure to account for the turn, however, meant the ball passed the outside edge and kissed the off stump. Karn finished with figures of 2 for 45.

Guptill’s three chances

Martin Guptill, who labored to a 46-ball 32, began his tryst with chance in the 13th over, when a Shahbaz Nadeem ripper turned square, but couldn’t be pouched by the wicketkeeper. In the next over, he swept Karn hard but was dropped by Avesh Khan at deep square leg. Nadeem subsequently let a caught-and-bowled opportunity through his legs in the 15th over.

A late flourish in vain

What seemed to be a forgone conclusion in the 28th over when Board President’s XI slumped to 158 for 6 was deferred until the 48th, courtesy a 46-ball 65 from Gurkeerat. A 64-run, ninth-wicket stand between Dhawal Kulkarni and Jaydev Unadkat carried the hosts past 300, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Updated: October 19, 2017 — 8:36 pm
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