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India vs New Zealand: Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul help India clinch series opener

  • An exemplary chase saw the visitors gun down New Zealand's monumental 203-run target and clinch the opening T20I in Auckland.
Aryan Surana
ANALYST
News
Modified 24 Jan 2020, 16:26 IST

Shreyas Iyer hammered a quickfire 58
Shreyas Iyer hammered a quickfire 58

New Zealand: 203/5

Colin Munro 59(42), Ross Taylor 54(27); Jasprit Bumrah 1/31

India: 204/5

Shreyas Iyer 58(29), KL Rahul 56(27); Ish Sodhi 2/5

MoM: Shreyas Iyer

For detailed scorecard and match commentary, click here

India have exorcised the World Cup semi-final ghosts with panache in Auckland's series opener. No target may be too difficult to handle against India's power-packed batting arsenal. Blistering knocks from India's premier white-ball swashbucklers, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, and Virat Kohli ensured the visitors gun down New Zealand's monumental 203-run target to inflict a comprehensive 6-wicket triumph with an over to spare.

Setting the platform

Chasing an improbable total, India endured the worst possible start as Rohit Sharma departed cheaply, miscuing an attempted slog-sweep. Surviving through communication breakdowns and dropped chances, Rahul and Kohli engineered a brilliant counter-attacking partnership, putting New Zealand through the winger. India were progressing steadily when New Zealand's tweakers wreaked havoc, injecting fresh life into the contest. Ish Sodhi's chicanery outfoxed Rahul while Blair Tickner accounted for danger-man Kohli. Shivam Dube flattered to deceive, leaving the visitors toddling at 142/4. However, Iyer yielded a dazzling masterclass, quashing any prospect of New Zealand's triumph as India romped home without fuss.

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Virat Kohli pulls a short delivery
Virat Kohli pulls a short delivery

Flourishing headstart

The explosive opening combination of Martin Guptill and Colin Munro fired loaded salvos right away, helping New Zealand procure the early advantage. From Mohammed Shami's hostility to Shardul Thakur's deceptive change-ups, nothing could thwart the rampaging Kiwis. Besides the weird ground dimensions, repeated fielding blunders also exacerbated India's problems as New Zealand ran riot.

Experience comes handy

Despite losing big fishes Guptill, Munro, and Colin de Grandhomme in quick succession, seasoned campaigners Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor joined forces to ensure the hosts don't concede any momentum whatsoever. New Zealand were absolutely cruising when leggie Yuzvendra Chahal terminated Williamson's juggernaut, though India still couldn't breathe easy as Taylor motored along. Jasprit Bumrah denied the Black Caps a tremendous finishing kick by showcasing his death-bowling efficiency. Eventually, the target acquired proved inadequate, thanks to India's immaculate batting performance.

"We had lost quick wickets, so we had to build partnerships. We always knew we can score runs because this is a small ground. Looking forward to similar support in the remaining games as well", Shreyas Iyer quipped in the post-match presentations.
Published 24 Jan 2020, 16:23 IST
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