Dhoni fans upset after New Zealand outplay India by 21 runs in first T20I in Ranchi
Opener Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell struck half-centuries to guide New Zealand to a comfortable 21-run win in the first T20I of the three-match series in Ranchi on Friday.
Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell conjured up fluent and fiery half-centuries before the spinners choked the hosts as New Zealand outplayed India by 21 runs in the opening T20I to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series in Ranchi on Friday.
Also read: 'Mahi in the house': Dhoni fans go berserk as former skipper enjoys India vs NZ T20I in Ranchi - WATCH
Conway, who was allowed to bat first, extended his recent hot streak with a 35-ball 52, and Mitchell slammed a 30-ball unbeaten 59, which included a 27-run thrashing of Arshdeep Singh in the final over, to propel the Black Caps to a harrowing 176 for six.
The Kiwi bowlers, led by Mitchell Santner (2/11) and Michael Bracewell (2/31), then spun a web around the home batters, restricting India to 155 for 9 in 20 overs.
Ishan Kishan (4) and Rahul Tripathi (0) were both dismissed in the third over, giving India a dismal start to their chase.
Bracewell bamboozled Ishan, while pacer Jacob Duffy (1/27) forced a sharp edge from Rahul's blade. As India slipped to 15 for three, Shubman Gill (age 7) too died shortly after falling victim to Santner's trick.
Suryakumar Yadav (47), however, looked in good touch as he picked up two boundaries before picking one off his hips for a six off Lockie Ferguson (1/22). Santner then bowled a maiden as India reached 33 for three in the powerplay overs.
The New Zealand spinners maintained control of the situation by keeping the pitch flat and varying the length even as Hardik sent a drive over extra cover to relieve the pressure.
To keep the scoreboard updated, Suryakumar also utilised his assortment of sweep strokes. As India reached 74 for 3 in 10 overs after Blair Tickner's introduction, he played a square cut and then sent another one past backward point for consecutive fours.
Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi was then sent inside out over extra cover for a maximum, but New Zealand struck twice in the next five balls to remove both the set batters.
Surya chipped a Sodhi ball to Finn Allen at long on, and Hardik was caught and bowled by Bracewell as things started to deteriorate, and India reached 85 for 5.
Before being defeated, Deepak Hooda slammed one over the rope. Then Santner left Shivam Mavi. Kuldeep was removed with Ferguson's wicket-maiden delivery. Despite Washington Sundar's valiant 28-ball 50, it was already too late.
Earlier, Indian bowlers struggled to get their line and length, allowing New Zealand to get off to a good start. Allen (35) smashed Hardik for successive boundaries, while a juicy half volley from Arshdeep was hit straight to the boundary.
Conway, who scored 138 in the third ODI in Indore, also punished the left-arm pacer for a wide ball as New Zealand put up 23 in two overs.
Sundar, however, got a lot of purchase from the wicket and soon saw the back of Allen and Mark Chapman (0) in the space of five deliveries to reduce New Zealand to 43 for 2.
Conway, however, kept it going with two fours and a six off Umran Malik, who bled 16 runs in his only over.
Hardik brought himself back and tried to mix his bowling, using more cutters and slower deliveries as New Zealand reached 79 for 2 in 10 overs.
Conway used the slog sweep and his feet to pick up boundaries off Kuldeep and Hooda as New Zealand crossed the 100-mark in the 13th over. Kuldeep then struck with a googly as Glenn Phillips went for a slog, only to be holed out by Surya at deep midwicket.
After surviving two video referrals for a caught behind and an LBW, Daryl Mitchell then joined Conway and blasted Hardik for two maximums. On the other hand, Conway completed his fifty in the 16th over but was soon sent packing by Arshdeep with Hooda taking the catch at long-off.
Ishan Kishan then ran out new man Bracewell (1) and Shivam Mavi had Santner (7) caught by Rahul Tripathi as India seemed to have pulled things back. However, Arshdeep conceded 27 runs in the last over, with Mitchell clobbering him for three sixes and a four.
New Zealand: 176 for 6 in 20 overs (Daryl Mitchell 59 not out, Devon Conway 52; Washington Sundar 2/22).
India: 155 for 9 in 20 overs (S Yadav 47, W Sundar 50; Mitchell Santner 2/11).
Fans of former skipper MS Dhoni, who was present at the JSCA International Stadium to witness the encounter, took to Twitter to express their disappointment over India's loss to the Kiwis.
"Thala Dhoni and Family won’t be pleased with the result. Wrong shot selection was one the reason of today’s defeat as Washington Sundar almost took us close to the target," said one fan on Twitter.
Another added, "I've said this before, saying this again.Somebody intelligent needs to sit with Hardik Pandya and tell him to stop acting like a super senior or super important. Neither the attitude makes him Dhoni, nor the aggression makes him Kohli! He needs to focus!"
A third fan noted, "Sometimes you just need to stop Dhoni sir from coming to the stadium."
Here's a look at how fans reacted following India's 21-run loss to New Zealand in the first T20I in Dhoni's hometown Ranchi:
(With inputs from PTI)