Smashing fifties from Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul powered India to a six-wicket win over New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland. Chasing 204 runs to win, India were in a spot of bother after losing Shivam Dube early but Iyer and Manish Pandey stitched a match-winning partnership to take the side home. The visitors have now taken a 1-0 lead in the five-match T20I series.
New Zealand’s big guns fire
Inserted to bat first, the hosts ensured that they launched an attack from the onset. With short boundaries of Eden Park, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro made most of the pace offered by the Indian bowlers. In the first six overs itself, they raced to 68/0. India jumped back in the game with Yuzvendra Chahal and Shivam Dube slowing down the run rate. Dube dismissed Guptill but Munro-Kane Williamson kept attacking.
Williamson batted in an exceptional manner as he registered his highest score in T20I versus India. His knock of 51 from 26 balls included four fours and four sixes. Ross Taylor followed his lead and finished with 54 off 27 balls scoring three fours and three sixes. Jasprit Bumrah conceded only 16 runs in his last two overs as New Zealand finished on 203/5.
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Rahul, Iyer go bang bang
India lost Rohit Sharma early. Not experimenting further, Virat Kohli came out to bat at number three. Both Rahul and Kohli ensured that India did not fall behind the required run rate. New Zealand had chances but they missed opportunities to dismiss both of them. The duo was looking comfortable at the crease until Sodhi removed the opener.
Just after six balls of Rahul’s departure, Guptill completed a stunning catch to send back Kohli. When Dube fell in the 14th over, India still needed 62 runs from 38 balls. Iyer headed the chase with an extraordinary fifty while Manish Pandey played a supporting role. With a gigantic six off Tim Southee, Iyer sealed a four-wicket win.