Pandya started off with a wicket in his first over and went on to take two more for 31 runs as India bowled out the Black Caps for 190 after choosing to bowl first. The pitch had seemed like a batting-friendly one but that notion quickly changed as Kiwis lost five in no time.
An unbeaten 85 from Vice-Captain, Virat Kohli, helped India past the target in the 34th over.
Pandya's bowling got him a Man of the Match award in his debut ODI, becoming the fourth Indian player to do so. Lokesh Rahul, Mohit Sharma, and Sandeep Patil are the others to earn a Man of the Match award in debut ODI. His performance on debut is also the fourth best by an Indian bowler.
Kapil Dev had given Hardik Pandya his debut cap before the start of play. Incidentally, Kapil had also made his debut, albeit in Tests, on the same date against Pakistan in 1978.
The 23-year-old Pandya was ecstatic as he got his debut cap from the great World Cup-winning former skipper. He spoke fondly about the moment and said that it was something he would remember forever. The motivation seemed to have spurred him on with the ball.
"Getting a MoM award on debut is something very special. I got to know during the team meeting that Kapil Dev had made his Test debut on this day, getting the ODI cap from him is something that I will cherish in my life," Pandya said at the post-match ceremony.
Pandya, considered a first-hand seamer, was tasked with opening the bowling along with Umesh Yadav. He was preferred over the exciting Jasprit Bumrah, a punt by captain Dhoni that paid rewards immediately, as Pandya removed Martin Guptill. Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi also failed to make an impact and fell to Pandya triggering a collapse for the Kiwis.
The all-rounder had made his T20I debut in Australia in early January, but after a poor IPL, did not make the second string ODI team for the Zimbabwe tour in June this year. Pandya had last played for India in the World T20 in March. The all-rounder admitted that he was pretty nervous before this match.
“It's good to be back, I was a bit nervous, I bowled a lot during the Australia A series tour and during the domestic season, that helped me get my rhythm early. I wanted to bowl the right lengths. On this wicket, the good length region was where the ball was doing something, I wanted to hit the length consistently.”
His T20I debut was in stark contrast to yesterday’s game. He conceded three wides off his first three balls and bowled two more in the over ending up with figures of 1-0-19-0 after his first over in International cricket. Pandya would be thankful that his ODI debut was much much better.
India have taken an important 1-0 lead in the series thanks to Pandya's spell. The second ODI is scheduled to take place at Delhi on Thursday.