India vs New Zealand 1st ODI: Ross Taylor upstages Shreyas Iyer as Kiwis crush Virat Kohli and Co by 4 wickets
It was a battle between two sets of batsmen and eventually New Zealand prevailed as they thumped India by four wickets in the first ODI at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Wednesday. Shreyas Iyer’s maiden century went in vain as Ross Taylor’s unbeaten ton helped Kiwis chase down the mammoth target with 11 balls to spare. Courtesy of this victory, the Black Caps went 1-0 up in the three-match series.
Chasing a huge target of 348, New Zealand got off to the perfect start with openers Henry Nicholls and Martin Guptill setting the tone with a fine 85-run stand. Shardul Thakur provided India with their first breakthrough of the innings as he dismissed Guptill for 32 to end the dangerous partnership.
Nicholls kept going and notched up a fine half-century but his partner, Tom Blundell, became the second Kiwi batsman to head back into the hut as he was dismissed by Kuldeep Yadav for 9. Ross Taylor joined forces with Nicholls and the duo took the score past the 150-run mark.
Skipper Virat Kohli brought India back into the game against the run of play as be pulled off a brilliant run-out to send packing Nicholls for 78. The opener was called for a quick single by Taylor but Kohli, who was fielding at short cover, hit the stumps to provide India with their third wicket.
This is when stand-in-skipper Tom Latham joined Taylor in the middle and the duo effectively took the game away from the visitors. They dealt in boundaries en route completing their respective half-centuries. Taylor and Latham stitched together 138-run stand as Indian bowlers went sent on leather hunt by the right hand-left hand combination.
Kuldeep broke the partnership as he dismissed Latham for 69, however, the damage had already been done. New Zealand’s newly-found choking abilities forced them to lose James Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme in quick succession in dying stages of the match but Taylor hit the winning runs to help the Black Caps take the lead in the series.
Earlier, Iyer continued his good run of form as he slammed a masterful 103 off 107 balls to help India set a huge total on a brilliant batting wicket. KL Rahul too continued his purple patch as he hit an unbeaten 88 off 64 balls while Kohli struck 51 off 63 deliveries.
Iyer’s knock included 11 fours and a six and together with Rahul shared 136 runs for the fourth wicket as India scored 96 runs in the last 10 overs after being sent into bat.
This was after Tom Blundell featured his maiden ODI for the Black Caps, while India gave debuts to two openers -- Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal. It was the fourth such instance in Indian history with Rahul-Karun Nair being the last such pair in 2016 against Zimbabwe.
Shaw was the first to go, nicking behind a Colin de Grandhomme (1/41) delivery, while Agarwal was caught at point by Blundell off Southee (2/85). It brought Kohli and Iyer together, and they dominated the middle overs with a 102-run stand for the third wicket. They manoeuvred the field well and kept the scorecard ticking as India crossed 150 in the 28th over.
Kohli fell against the run of play as a wrong one from Ish Sodhi (1/27) got through his defence to clip the leg stump. Rahul though didn’t let the innings lose any momentum as he smacked six sixes along with three fours.
But the day belonged to Iyer, who, despite a scratchy start, had crossed 50 off 66 balls. Once he passed the 50-run mark, the stylish right-hander batted fluently to notch up his first century in 16 ODIs.
The centurion fell shortly afterwards, caught off Southee even as Rahul took control. He reached his half-century off 41 balls as India eased past 300 in the 47th over.
Rahul’s carnage meant that New Zealand conceded 191 runs in the last 20 overs. Kedar Jadhav remained unbeaten on 26 off 15 balls, stitching 55 off 27 balls with Rahul.
((With agency inputs))