India Kick-Off New Zealand Tour With Impressive Win
New Zealand are coming off a horrendous tour of Australia. Looking to turn things in the first T20 against India, things didn’t go according to script. The Kiwis are a formidable side in the shorter format of the game but they are even more dangerous when playing at home.
Kiwis Post Big Total
India won the toss and decided to put the Kiwis into bat. New Zealand started strongly as M Guptill (30) and C Munro (59) put on 80.
India’s fast bowlers who were very impressive in the recent home series struggled to keep the Kiwi batsmen quiet. Captain K Williamson led from the front with an impressive 51 of 26 balls and received good support from veteran batsman Ross Taylor who remained unbeaten finishing with 54 from 27 balls at a strike rate of 200.
M Shami conceded 53 runs of his 4 overs and did not pick up any wickets. S Thakur turned out to be the most expensive bowler for India conceding 44 runs of just 3 overs at an economy rate of 14.6. The Kiwis were able to get to a total of 203 but would have ideally liked another 5 to 10 runs more.
The pick of the bowlers for India was Y Chahal and S Dube. Chahal finished his quota, picking up 1 wicket and conceding 32 runs while Dube bowled only 3 overs, picked up 1 wicket and conceded 24 runs. Kohli’s tactics in the end was a little strange as he preferred to bowl the expensive Thakur in the end instead of giving Dube another go or R Jadeja who finished just 2 overs for 18.
Belligerent Rahul Gives India The Edge
When chasing a big total in T20, it is essential to get off to a great start. India did not have one as M Santner dismissed R Sharma for just 7 to leave India at 16/1. V Kohli joined KL Rahul at the crease and the two batsmen put on a brilliant display of batting which threatened to take the game away from the Kiwis.
KL Rahul was in a belligerent mood as he whacked the bowlers to all parts of the ground. Rahul is known for his timing and elegance but he can play the big shots when he has to. He outscored Kohli and went to make 56 from just 27 balls, hitting 3 sixes and 4 fours. He got out to I Sodhi and V Kohli followed soon after as he fell for 45.
The loss of KL Rahul and V Kohli in quick succession helped the Kiwis get back in the game. Pressure was seemingly back on India. S Dube got promoted ahead of M Pandey but he did not have much of an impact which left it up to Iyer and M Pandey to see India home.
India decided to drop R Pant in favour of having an extra batsman in Pandey. KL Rahul took over the keeper role again. The strategy worked out well as S Iyer (58) and M Pandey (14) put together a match winning partnership. It also showed the selectors that India need to stick with these two batsmen for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
The second T20 is set to take place on Jan 26 and will also be played in Auckland.