A rain-curtailed match might be a dampener for teams and fans, but on Sunday it threw up positives for India. They beat New Zealand by 45 runs (via Duckworth-Lewis Method) in a warm-up game to start the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 campaign on a positive note.
The first gain for India was the three-wicket haul of Mohammed Shami, who is returning to the national ODI team after two years. The second was skipper Virat Kohli regaining confidence with an unbeaten half-century, post the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s debacle in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
When Shami was picked for the Champions Trophy, it was the end of a long and agonising wait. On Sunday, he asserted his effectiveness with a three-wicket haul as India bowled out the Black Caps for 189 in 38.4 overs.
Shami, who underwent a knee surgery after India’s semifinal loss in the 2015 World Cup, returned to the Test side but was sidelined midway through the series against England due to ‘knee soreness’. He also had to cope with personal tragedy, his father’s demise.
Although Shami played 10 Tests and the IPL, there was a question over his fitness. In a four-pronged pace attack, Shami was the shining star as he accounted for the wickets of Martin Guptill, Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson and Neil Broom.
What might interest Kohli is that the other pacers – Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah – produced disciplined efforts and were economical. While Bhuvneshwar picked three wickets, Umesh got one.