KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer see India through to victory in first T20i against NZ
KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer shined at the crease but more importantly ensured that India were always in a good position to reach the formidable target of 204
Auckland: India managed to chase down a target of 204 with one over to spare and thereby went one-up in the five-match series on Friday.
KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer shined at Eden Park with scores of 56 and an unbeaten 58 respectively.
All was not well for the Indian squad during their time at the crease initially. Faced with a strong target of 204, it didn’t look good when star batsman and opener Rohit Sharma fell to Mitchell Santner in the second over.
However, the tide quickly turned when the duo of Virat Kohli and KL Rahul were in punishing mood, which was the need of the hour for India. The visitors were on a roll, bringing up the 100 in the 9th over.
Their partnership fell one run short of a century, when Rahul perished at the hands of Ish Sodhi in the 10th over.
Two overs later it was Kohli’s turn to return to the pavilion, courtesy Blair Tickner.
Shivam Dube who was dismissed for 13 runs shortly after, left India worrying whether the tide had turned again. But for Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey there was no room for that kind of thought.
The duo ensured that India sailed over the finish line with an over and six wickets still left to spare.
New Zealand were put into bat by India, and Colin Munro and Martin Guptill seemed thankful for the opportunity, amassing a sizeable score of 68 in the first six overs.
Guptill fell to a catch by Rohit at the mid-wicket boundary and Dube got India the much-needed breakthrough in the eighth over.
Munro brought up his tenth T20 half-century, during his 36-run partnership with Kane Williamson.
Munro fell to Shardul Thakur for 59. The hosts, however, were still not in a bad situation with 116/2 in 11.5 overs. But Ravindra Jadeja had to trouble the New Zealanders for another wicket, dismissing Colin de Grandhomme for a golden duck.
The experienced Ross Taylor and Williamson ensured the side didn’t sink and provided the team with a partnership of 61 runs until Yuzvendra Chahal got rid of Williamson for 51 in the 17th over.
Tim Seifert had to make a quick return to the pavilion because of Jasprit Bumrah who didn’t let the batsman score a run.
Taylor was joined by Mitchell Santner who managed to steer the Kiwis to the last ball with an unbeaten partnership of 22 runs. Taylor smashed his maiden fifty in T20Is in 96 games. The Blackcaps ended up with 203/5.
Taylor’s unbeaten knock of 54, included three fours and three sixes.
India and New Zealand will take on each other in the second T20I on January 26.
Brief Scores: India 204/4 (KL Rahul 56, Shreyas Iyer 58*, Ish Sodhi 2-36) defeat New Zealand 203/5 (Colin Munro 59, Ross Raylor 54*, Ravindra Jadeja 1-18) by six wickets.