After whitewashing New Zealand in Tests, India kick started their ODI campaign in style as the men in blue beat New Zealand by 6 wickets in the first ODI at Dharamsala. It all started with Hardik Pandya and Umesh Yadav making few early in-roads in the Kiwi top-order. New Zealand couldn’t recover from that as they were bundled out for just 190.
The target was too easy for India on a wicket like this as Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 85 took India home with 101 balls remaining. Hardik was named the Man of the Match on debut.
In the innings break, Hardik Pandya said, “getting back in the blue is pretty amazing and I felt really nice to bowl well on my ODI debut. India A’s tour to Australia helped me a lot as I learnt a lot about my bowling.”
On asked about the increase in pace, he said, “I got a bit stronger and that is the reason why the pace was high. I look thin because I always like to maintain my body in such a way.”
After the match, Amit Mishra spoke to Ravi Shastri and he quoted, “I enjoyed myself while bowling on this track which was good for batting. There was no pressure on me when I came on to bowl as the pacers chipped in with wickets. It helped me. I am happy with the way I bowled today and would like to continue the same in the coming matches. Anil Kumble was a big help. He was helping me on how to bowl on flat decks, how to be mentally tough and about setting a field.”
In the post-match presentation, losing skipper Kane Williamson admitted that his side lost too many wickets in the first ten overs. “We had to weather the storm a little bit. The first ten overs were difficult with the bat. The pitch was a little bit up and down with some sideways movement. We lost two many wickets too early. We thought with the new ball, we could pick up wickets early, but India were too good. Today we were certainly below par in all aspects. We have to play our best cricket to beat this side," he conceded.
Victorious Indian skipper MS Dhoni lauded Hardik Pandya and added, "fantastic performance from the fast bowlers. The length was exploited by Hardik pretty well. Few of the wickets were really good catches and the openers provided a good start. Hardik is deceptive, crossing 135 consistently. He is someone who can bat really well too. There was not much on offer, the spinners were under some pressure when Tim (Southee) started hitting. If we didn't take early wickets, it could have been 280+. It was good for me to spend some time in the middle.”
Hardik Pandya, who became the fourth Indian to win the Man of the Match award on debut, was happy for his performance. "Getting a man of the match on debut is something very special. I'll definitely cherish the moment (getting the cap from Kapil Dev). I was a bit nervous, but I bowled a lot in Australia and I felt in rhythm today. It felt really good to be back in the team. I wasn't looking to bowl really fast, but trying to keep it simple. On this wicket, when I started bowling, I planned to bowl at a good length because the ball was doing something,” he admitted.