India break T20 jinx vs New Zealand in Ashish Nehra’s final cricket match

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan slammed 80s to help India reach 202/3. Then Indian bowlers restricted New Zealand to 149/8 as the hosts won their first-ever T20 match against the Kiwis. Ashish Nehra thus signed off his international career on a high.

india vs new zealand 2017 Updated: Nov 01, 2017 23:57 IST
Siddhartha Sharma
Siddhartha Sharma
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India vs New Zealand,1st T20I,Feroz Shah Kotla
Ashish Nehra waves to crowd after his retirement from all forms of cricket during the first India vs New Zealand T20 at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.(PTI)

India openers Shikhar Dhawan (80) and Rohit Sharma (80) cashed in on sloppy catching to set up the hosts’ first Twenty20 win over New Zealand at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground on Wednesday. (HIGHLIGHTS | SCORECARD)

India defeated the Kiwis by 53 runs to finally turn things around after losing the first five T20s between the sides, giving Ashish Nehra a perfect retirement gift.

Winning the toss and opting to field, Kane Williamson’s side failed to capitalise, struggling to cope with the dew, dropping catches and their pace bowlers proving inconsistent. Trent Boult and Tim Southee conceded 94 runs in their eight overs as India posted 202/3 in 20 overs. New Zealand were restricted to 149/8.

Nehra starts well

Indian bowlers lead by Nehra built pressure in the first six overs to take control. A stunning catch by Hardik Pandya to dismiss Martin Guptill in the second over made things more difficult for the Kiwis and they lost quick wickets in a bid to keep abreast of the run-rate.

READ | Feroz Shah Kotla turns up in numbers for Ashish Nehra’s farewell

Nehra, denied a wicket on a couple of occasions, signed off his career with a fine spell of 4-0-29-0 after being given the honour of bowling the final over. Spinners Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal both took two wickets to break the spine of the Kiwis.

Record stand

The first half of the game belonged to Dhawan and Rohit, who produced a record opening stand of 158, surpassing the 136 by Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag.

READ | India vs New Zealand: Shikhar Dhawan hits third fifty in first T20 at Kotla

Though Kiwi spinners Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi bowled economical spells, conceding 55 in eight overs, dew made it difficult for the medium pacers. Boult was wayward throughout.

Dhawan made the best of the dropped chance. The pacers kept giving him room and he was happy to showcase his prowess at hitting horizontal shots. The Delhi left-hander collected a couple of fours each in Boult’s first two overs while Rohit complemented him.

In the first six overs, New Zealand restricted India to 45. But wet conditions meant medium pacer Colin De Grandhomme too struggled to grip the ball. In the seventh over, Southee dropped Rohit off de

Rohit breaks free

Grandhomme. Once Rohit got a reprieve, he came out of the shell and followed on the footsteps of Dhawan, who was seemingly on a roll.

READ | India vs New Zealand: Rohit Sharma continues fine form with fifty in 1st T20I

Initially boundaries didn’t come easily against Santner and Sodhi, but the duo ran well between the wickets. India reached 80 in 10 overs.

Dhawan improvised against de Grandhomme, paddle-sweeping for four. He also swept Sodhi, dispatching him for a six and four off consecutive googlies and disturbed his length. Dhawan hit 10 fours and two sixes in his 52-ball knock.

Rohit, once he discovered none of the bowlers could move the ball off the seam, time and again made room to hit straight.

READ | New Zealand let it slip, again and again against India

The 11th over by Colin Munro was milked for 10 runs and Santner’s 15th over went for 15 runs. Rohit hit six fours and four sixes.

Sodhi, in the 17th over, got Dhawan stumped and removed Hardik Pandya the next ball. But the dismissals had no effect as Virat Kohli (26no) opened his account with a towering six of de Grandhomme, and then deposited Boult over midwicket. In the Last over, Tim Southee went for 17 runs with Virat and Dhoni picking a six each.

First Published: Nov 01, 2017 18:55 IST