Thanks to KL Rahul, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer half-centuries, India chased down the target of 204 in the first T20I match played at Eden Park, Auckland on Friday.
Indian captain Virat Kohli won the toss and decided to field first. New Zealand openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro started off to a flying start putting pressure on Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur. Both batsmen gave respect to Bumrah who bowled with consistent line and length. At the end of first six overs, New Zealand raced along to 68 for 0.
After the power play overs, Yuzvendra Chahal was bought into the attack and stopped the run flow with some tight bowling. Shivam Dube bowled a beautiful first over and then got the breakthrough by dismissing Martin Guptill for 30 with a good catch by Rohit Sharma at the boundary. Guptill and Munro added 80 runs in 7.5 overs. New Zealand captain Kane Williamson came to the crease and took few balls to settle. Munro looked in great touch to reach his fifty off 36 balls. Shardul Thakur was smashed for 2 sixes but he got the wicket of well-set Munro for 59. Munro and Williamson added 36 runs for the 2nd wicket. In next over, Ravindra Jadeja got the big wicket of Colin de Grandhomme.
The experienced duo of Ross Taylor and Kane Williamson smashed the Indian bowlers with big hits. Williamson known for his Test exploits was simply sensational and reached his fifty off 25 balls. After being for a four, Chahal dismissed Williamson off the very next ball. Williamson and Taylor added 61 runs for the 4th wicket. Taylor reached his fifty off 25 balls in last over. The Indian bowlers made a strong comeback to restrict New Zealand to 203 for 5 in 20 overs. For India, Bumrah, Dube, Chahal, Jadeja and Thakur took 1 wicket each.
In reply to 204 runs to win, KL Rahul looked in great touch with good hitting. After hitting a six off Mitchell Santer bowling, Rohit Sharma was dismissed off the very next ball. Kohli came to the crease and played with positive intent along with KL Rahul. Rahul took on the pacers and spinners. Both batsmen survived a run out moment, but Tim Southee missed a golden chance. At the end of six overs, India were 65 for 1.
After the power play overs, Rahul and Kohli continued to put pressure on the New Zealand bowlers. Rahul reached his fifty off just 23 balls. As things looked dangerous for New Zealand, Ish Sodhi got the breakthrough dismissing Rahul for 56. Rahul and Kohli added 99 runs for the 2nd wicket.
The Indian captain Virat Kohli was dropped by Ish Sodhi and then was brilliantly caught by Martin Guptill to bring New Zealand back into the game. Shivam Dube promoted at number 5, scored a quick fire 13 off 9 balls. He tried to hit a six but was caught by Tim Southee. With 60 runs required off the last 6 overs, Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey took on New Zealand bowlers with big hits.
Iyer looked in great touch smashing the New Zealand bowlers and reached his fifty off 26 balls. With 6 runs required off 7 balls, Iyer hit a six to help Team India win the match by 6 wickets with 1 over to spare. Both batsmen added 62 unbeaten runs for the 5th wicket.
India 204 for 4 in 19 overs (KL Rahul 56, Shreyas Iyer 58*, Ish Sodhi 2/36) beat New Zealand 203 for 5 in 20 overs (Colin Munro 59, Ross Taylor 54*, Kane Williamson 51, Shivam Dube 1/24, Jasprit Bumrah 1/31) by 6 wickets.
India takes a 1-0 lead in the 5 match T20I series. The 2nd match will be played on 26th January at the same ground.