New Delhi: India registered their maiden T20I victory over the New Zealand after posting a massive score of 202 at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi on Wednesday.
The occasion was big. Ashish Nehra had finally decided to call it quits to his 19-year long career, and that brought the best out of hosts at Feroz Shah Kotla.
India posted 202 for 3 and Black Caps bundled out for 149 for 8; losing by 53 runs.
In pursuit of 203, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro had the opportunity to go bonkers from ball one. Nothing of that sort happened.
Nehra commenced the innings and kept things tight. Yuzvendra Chahal bowled the second over, and Hardik Pandya produced a brilliant effort at long off. Guptill lofted one straight and Pandya timed his jump to perfection to dismiss the right-hander for 4.
Virat Kohli rotated his pacers from thereon. Bhuvneshwar Kumar rattled Colin Munro’s stumps with a peach off a yorker. At 18 for 2, Kiwis knew they had to produce something spectacular to remain in the hunt.
It wasn’t going to be easy with 6 frontline bowlers in India’s bowling line-up. Only Kane Williamson and Tom Latham scored 28 and 39 respectively, while Mitchell Santner impressed with an unbeaten 27*.
While every India bowler was among wickets, luck evaded Nehra in his final match. He mixed his lengths and bowled slow to deceive the batsmen. He did everything right, but fielders failed to hang onto their catches.
Pandya, after a splendid catch, couldn’t grab onto a tough chance off Munro’s blade. In addition, Kohli almost pulled off a stunner, at mid off, to try and get rid of Williamson. In short, Nehra’s wicket tally remained empty.
The likes of Pandya, Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah took wickets, but Nehra managed none.
Earlier, Rohit didn’t look at his best in the beginning. But Dhawan made light work of the New Zealand attack on his home ground. He stuck around and got the runs.
Dhawan timed his cuts, drives and slog sweeps to slam his third T20I fifty. Nonetheless, Rohit did not falter. He upped the scoring rate after getting his eye-in.
With New Zealand bowlers struggling to grip the ball because of dew, they created mayhem and took on Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Colin de Grandhomme and others.
Ish Sodhi and Santner applied the brakes by bowling slow, and slowed the scoring rate. Santner remained wicketless. Sodhi removed Dhawan and Pandya. The pair were removed after they scored 80 each.
The finishing touch was provided by Kohli. He missed out on attaining a landmark; of becoming the second highest T20I run-scorer but will fancy his chances in the upcoming games.
Kohli remained unbeaten on 26 and Dhoni smacked a huge six as well.