Individual brilliance from both Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, each registering scores of 80 apiece sees India off to their first ever T20I win over New Zealand in 6 matches. New Zealand. Batting first, India posted a mammoth total of 202/3 in their 20 overs which seemed a little too much for New Zealand from the outset and they ended up losing by a margin of 53 runs, thus ending their unbeaten streak against India.
Batting first, India’s openers looked in great touch with Shikhar Dhawan looking fluent from the word go in front of a rampant home crowd and Rohit Sharma catching up soon after a slow start. The openers who were a bit tentative at the start with soon started hitting the opposition bowlers all around the park after having set their eye in. The two batted together for about 16 overs, registering the highest ever opening partnership for India in T20Is. With wickets in hand and only a few overs remaining after the opening pair was dismissed, Team India went for the kill with skipper Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni clobbering sixes at will helping India to reach a score of above 200, which was always going to be a tough ask from any opposition on any day.
They Kiwis in reply went off to a flier before Martin Guptill’s stay at the crease was cut short by a spectacular, mind-boggling catch by Hardik Pandya at long on and Munro was cleaned up by Bhubaneshwar Kumar in his first delivery to the left hander. The recovery was never going to be easy and Williamson and Latham stitched together a decent partnership but could not live up to the required run rate. Latham held one end but could not accelerate due to the loss of wickets at the other end at regular intervals and the visitors in the end could only manage 149/8. The standout with the ball for India were Axar Patel(2/20) and Yuzuvendra Chahal(2/26) but focus was mainly on Ashish Nehra who the playing international cricket for the last time in his career. The 38 year old bid adieu to his 18 year long career bowling the last over of New Zealand’s innings and was carried around the field by his teammates in front of his home crowd cheering for him for one last time as a player.
Scorecard: India 202/3 Rohit 80(55), Dhawan 80(52); Sodhi 2/25
New Zealand 149/8 Latham 39(36); Axar 2/20, Chahal 2/26