New Zealand is currently ranked as the number one T20 side in the ICC T20 Rankings and had won their last 5 T20 matches against India. Their captain Kane Williamson won the toss and decided to ask India to bat at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi.
Dhawan & Sharma Make The Kiwis Pay
R Sharma and S Dhawan got India off to a steady start and Dhawan then launched an attack against the Kiwis. He dispatched both the fast bowlers and the spinners with ease and R Sharma soon joined his opening partner and both batsmen got out on 80 with a strike rate in excess of 145. The Kiwis who have a reputation for being one of the best fielding sides in the world will be disappointed with their performance.
They dropped Dhawan and Sharma when they were new to the crease and both the openers made the Kiwis pay dearly. They put together a 158 run partnership which is the highest opening partnership for India in T20 internationals.
H Pandya was promoted to number 3 to finish the innings with a flourish but he fell to a beauty by I Sodhi. Kohli came in at four and hammered 26 of 11 balls to take India to 202. India was in a good position to defend as they had chosen to go in with five specialist bowlers and H Pandya as the all-rounder. The selectors decided to play veteran A Nehra who had announced earlier that he would play his last match at the Kotla – his home ground.
New Zealand Crumble Under Pressure
The Kiwis lost M Guptill in the second over which was bowler by the leggie Chahal. H Pandya pulled off a spectacular catch and set the standard for India’s fielding. The Kiwis continued to lose wickets at regular intervals which made it hard for them to put together a substantial partnership.
They found it hard to get ahead of the run rate and soon found themselves under a lot of pressure with the run rate skyrocketing. It was clear by the 15th over that the Kiwis were never going to win as B Kumar and J Bumrah bowled cleverly at the death. M Santner did clear the boundary a few times towards the end and showed the Kiwis that he can play higher up the order. A Nehra bowled the final over and finished his international career on a winning note.
The second T20 takes place on Nov 4 at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot.