India defeated New Zealand by eight wickets
Shami, Dhawan help India outplay NZ
Kane Williamson won the coin toss and opted to bat first in the series opener. India played both their wrist-spinners and included Ambati Rayudu at the expense of Dinesh Karthik and Ravindra Jadeja.
New Zealand were rocked early when Mohammed Shami first castled Martin Guptill for five. He also went on to rattle Colin Munro for 8. The Kiwis were kept reeling at 18/2 when Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor came together to rebuild the innings.
Both Taylor and Williamson took their own time to settle and were looking good. They got New Zealand past the fifty run-mark in the 14th over but Yuzvendra Chahal had different plans.
Chahal took a sharp, low catch off his own bowling as Ross Taylor finally was dismissed before hitting a fifty for the first time in seven innings.
The leg-spinner added to New Zealand’s woes when he got Tom Latham caught and bowled too. Henry Nicholls and Kane Williamson were made to grind for their runs as India’s spinners kept things tight right throughout the middle stages.
Nicholls tried to break the shackles but a stunner from Kuldeep Yadav at short mid-wicket caused his downfall off Kedar Jadhav. Mitch Santner, batting ahead of Doug Bracewell, stuck around for a while before Mohammed Shami trapped him plumb in front.
New Zealand’s challenge came to a real end when Kane Williamson miscued one off Kuldeep Yadav on 64 after the drinks break. Kuldeep was quick to pounce on the Kiwi tail as Bracewell, Lockie and Boult all fell to him adding only 10 runs combined.
With only 157 on the board, the Kiwi bowlers were in dire need to come up with something spectacular.
After a few tidy overs by Trent Boult and Tim Southee, Rohit Sharma made a move on by stepping down the track to get India’s innings going before his partner Shikhar Dhawan played two exquisite shots – one to the square leg fence and the other straight down the ground. India were comfortably placed at 41/0 after nine overs when the teams headed out for a Dinner Break.
The Blackcaps resumed the game on a positive note within two balls when their first change in Doug Bracewell had Rohit fishing outside off. He was undone by the extra bounce on offer and was caught by Martin Guptill at first slip.
Soon after, the game saw another unforeseen intermission as a result of sun stopping play. Dhawan had the setting-sun causing an issue with the ball visibility.
The break led to a reduction in both overs and target – not substantial but India were chasing 158 in 49 overs as per the D/L method.
Skipper Virat Kohli, batting at number three, ensured that the scoreboard was kept ticking. The Kiwis failed to capitalize on two difficult catches, giving life to Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli each.
The two were in complete control of the game as they brought up the 50-run stand in the 17th over. Dhawan crossed the half-century mark in 69 balls, ending his longest drought of a 50+ score after ten innings. This was the opener’s 26th ODI fifty.
Lockie Ferguson disrupted the smooth proceedings as he got the prized wicket of Kohli, finally caught behind by Latham. On a rare occasion, the prolific chase master got out for a 59-ball 45, failing to carry the team over the line.
However, with only 24 more runs to get, the new-to-the-crease Ambati Rayadu gave Dhawan a helping hand who stayed not out at 75. India finished the chase in 34.5 overs with 8 wickets in hand.
The Men in Blue remain unbeaten in 2019 and lead the 5-match ODI series 1-0. The second match will be played at the Bay Oval on January 26
Courtesy: Mumbai Indians