Image Credit: Indian Premier League/ Twitter

After the third game in Christchurch got cancelled due to heavy rain, India lost the three-match One-Day International series aginst New Zealand 0-1.

With five out of six matches being washed away, the Indian tour of New Zealand has experienced more rain than any bilateral series. The weather gods continued to be unkind in the third ODI as well, and before there could be a clear winner, the official decided to adjourn the game.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bowl first, India got off to a slow start and soon lost both the openers – Shubman Gill and Shikhar Dhawan. The Indian battling lineup faltered and without completing the 50 overs the Indian team were all out for 219 in 47.3 overs. Washington Sundar struck an outstanding fifty, while Shreyas Iyer expertly managed the middle order with a crucial 48-run innings.

The remaining Indian batsmen were unable to have an impact on the Kiwi bowling unit, notably against Daryll Mitchell and Adam Milne, who both claimed three wickets. In response, New Zealand had a solid start and was comfortably positioned at 104 for one in 18 overs before the clouds came up and flushed out the match.

Pant versus Samson Debacle getting heated up

Image Credit: Indian Premier League/ Twitter

If there is one argument that surrounded the just finished India tour of New Zealand, it is the one involving Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson, excepting the weather. With Rishabh Pant being picked up again for the third and final ODI of the series against New Zealand, Sanju Samson once more sat on the sidelines.

The two talented young wicketkeeper batsmen have been competing for a spot in India’s starting XI, but a pattern from the three T20Is and ODIs suggests that the team management is sticking with the more seasoned Pant instead of selecting the more effective Samson. Before making his India debut, Samson was widely considered of as MS Dhoni’s replacement.

However, things didn’t turn out that way, and they probably won’t anytime soon either. There has been a lot of discussion on social media over which of the two individuals is more deserving by experts and followers. Samson has started his ODI career with a bang, hitting over 300 runs in 11 matches with an outstanding average of 66, whereas Pant has been struggling lately. In contrast to his performance in test matches, Pant has not had as much of an impact in white-ball cricket. Pant enjoyed a fantastic stint in England this past summer, but has since underperformed.

Samson participated in just one game throughout the entire tour, the first ODI in Auckland, when he batted at No. 7 and scored 36 off of 38 balls while hitting four boundaries. He was replaced by Deepak Hooda in the following game, while the team showed more interest in keeping Pant as the wicketkeeper. The 25-year-old however hasn’t been able to make use of it. Pant has only been able to score 42 runs in his four during the tour.

Pant has been selected for the Indian team for the Bangladesh Tour despite his dismissive performance, but Samson has not. Samson is allegedly being sacrificed in the eyes of the fans owing to Pant’s unwavering support from the Indian team’s management. The fans are upset that despite his failures, Pant keeps receiving new opportunites but Samson does not.

When he finished with yet another low score in the third One-Day International between India and New Zealand on Wednesday, the Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant was viciously mocked on social media by fans. Shikhar Dhawan, the stand-in captain, has finally spoken out about the Pant vs. Samson controversy as it gained traction with each game. He explained clearly why the management kept Rishabh on the team.

Rishabh Pant is a match-winner, according to Dhawan, and the squad should support him while Samson must wait to get more chances. The Lok Sabha representative for Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor, also tweeted in support of Samson and expressed his opinion that the wicketkeeper-batsman was being denied yet another opportunity.