Though India fumbled against New Zealand in the World Cup a couple of weeks ago, it managed to beat the latter in the first match of the ongoing bilateral T20 series. Team India won the match by 5 wickets by chasing a target of 165 runs in 19.4 overs. Surya Kumar Yadav (62) and Rohit Sharma (48) have shined for the men in blue during the chase.
It has been a batting show right from the beginning. Though the Kiwis lost their first wicket right in the first over, they recovered soon. Martin Guptill (70) and Chapman (63) made a partnership of 109 runs for the second wicket and troubled Indian bowlers for almost 13 overs. But once India managed to break the partnership, every other New Zealand batter went back to the pavilion without making a mark. Thus, Indian bowlers managed to restrict the Kiwis to a moderate score of 164/6. If the wickets didn’t fall in the death overs, New Zealand would have posted a high total on the scoreboard. Ravichandran Ashwin (2/23) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (2/24) scalped two wickets each for India.
India also gave a strong reply by chasing hard right from the first over. There was a lot of dew and Indian openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul took advantage of it. They made a partnership of 50 runs in just five overs. Even after Rahul got out, Rohit made another 50+ runs partnership with Surya Kumar Yadav. Finally, Boult scalped the wicket of Indian skipper when the latter was nearing his half-century. After Rohit’s dismissal, Sky finished his half-century. When he was looking good to finish things off, Boult got his wicket as well. Shreyas Iyer got out without making any impact. All of a sudden, momentum shifted back to New Zealand.
India needed 10 runs off the last over. Venkatesh Iyer and Rishab Pant were in the crease. The first ball went for a wide and Iyer had hit a four off the second ball. When 5 runs off 5 balls were needed, Iyer got out. The equation came down to 5 runs off 4 balls. Thanks to Pant’s temperament, India made 166/5 with 2 balls remaining. Boult remained the top bowler (2/31) for the Kiwis.
The second T20I will be held on Friday (November 19) in Ranchi.