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The Ross Taylor & Trent Boult Show

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Ross_Taylor_Trent_Boult_New_Zealand_CricketRoss Taylor could be just what New Zealand need in the wake of multiple failures in their batting line-up. Taylor, known for his aggressive batting, is capable of taking up the challenge against any world-class bowling attack.

Rated as one of the best new-ball bowlers in New Zealand by Sir Richard Hadlee, Trent Boult is a left-arm quick who has the ability to threaten any batsman in the world with his pace and hIs ability to move the ball both the ways in almost any conditions.

The stage was set for these two Black Caps to showcase their talents in the 2nd ODI of the ongoing series against the Proteas, and that’s what they both did. First came Taylor's heroics with the bat. While fielding, Boult's economical and incisive bowling helped New Zealand register a win in the five-match series, making it 1-1.

Taylor smashed his record-breaking 17th century against South Africa, scoring 102* off 110 deliveries, which proved to be a match winning knock for his side. With this century, he surpassed Nathan Astle for the highest number of ODI centuries by a New Zealand batsman.

After reaching 50, Taylor became the fourth New Zealander to score 6,000 ODI runs. The 32-year-old also has a chance to join his mentor, Martin Crowe, on top of the list for most centuries in Test cricket. Currently, Taylor has made 16 tons in 80 Tests while Crowe holds the country record with 17. The right-hander can achieve it in the upcoming three-match Test series against South Africa.

In the recently concluded series against Australia, Taylor smashed his 16th century in the 3rd ODI which gave him another record. Taylor usually bats at No. 4 in ODIs, and this knock was his 14th century batting in that position, which made him level with South Africa’s AB de Villiers, who also has 14 tons at No. 4, but from 118 matches.

It is often said that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. South Africa were no doubt wishing this were true, as they were struck time and again by a ‘Boult’ of lightning from the New Zealand.

Boult had earlier delivered a decisive spell of bowling in the ODIs against Australia to finish with 6/33, his best figures in the Chappell-Hadlee trophy. He continued his good work by taking three crucial wickets in the second one-day international against South Africa.

The left-arm pacer demolished South Africa with his control and took the precious wicket of AB de Villiers. He followed this up by knocking down Dwaine Pretorius in the penultimate over, proving why he went for big money in the IPL auction. He held his nerve to help New Zealand secure a rare, nail-biting, series-levelling six-run victory.

While Boult earned a mega payday, Taylor went unsold in the IPL auction. His T20 cricket is not valued by any franchise at the moment. But in 50 over format, Taylor is playing well as ever. With this form, the IPL franchises made a big mistake by not buying this aggressive Kiwi batsman.

The combination of Taylor & Boult is now proving to be a deadly one, as they both managed to end the unbeaten run of the Proteas. Earlier as well, it was because of these two that New Zealand managed to clinch the Chappell-Hadlee trophy and remove Australia from the number one position in the rankings.

This deadly combo will come handy in the Champions trophy, which will be played later in the year. The venom they carry can easily destroy the opposition with ease.

There is a little-known streak going on for New Zealand side: if Taylor scores big and Boult fires with the ball, almost every game is won by the New Zealanders. The victory was good in its own as the Kiwis bounced back after losing the only T20 & 1st ODI against South Africa, which must have helped boost their confidence. 

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said, “Another tight one so it was nice to be on the right side of this one.” He added, “ wins against the best team in the world aren’t going to come easy.

“ The death bowling was superb and the boys held their nerve in the end. Credit to Ross and Boult, they kept their cool.”

The flipside of this is what happens when one or both of them do not fire. A perfect example would be the 3rd ODI against South Africa: Boult claimed just one wicket and Taylor scored just 18 runs. The Kiwis lost by a huge margin of 159 runs.

 

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Yatin Singh is a third year student of Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, studying B.A (H) Journal...

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