By BV Swagath
New Zealand clinched a 24-run victory in the opening ODI at Napier after successfully overcoming a brilliant century from Virat Kohli. India chasing 293 didn’t get off to a good start neither got any big partnership going. Virat Kohli was the only top order batsman hanging in there and a crucial partnership with Skipper MS Dhoni brought India in the contest. It was a tough task for the duo as they were plenty of runs to chase down with few wickets in hand.
Left-arm quick Mitchell McClenaghan fired at the right moment to take the key wickets of MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli and in between that of Ravindra Jadeja to seal the fate of India. Kohli, who struck his 18th ODI century was left stranded to pull off the impossible after Dhoni’s exit in the 43rd over with 69 to win from just 45 balls. Kohli got out to a full toss from McClenaghan having scored 123 from 111 balls with 11 fours and 2 sixes.
India was bowled out for 268 in 48.4 overs with McClenaghan taking 4 for 68. Corey J Anderson backed up his superb knock with some tight bowling taking 2 for 51 with his left arm medium. He got the Man of the Match award for his all-round show.
New Zealand Innings: India managed to restrict hosts New Zealand to a par total of 292 on a good batting surface at Napier. This was despite an onslaught from Corey J Anderson, who remained unbeaten with 68 from 40 balls. The bowlers in particular Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami hit the blockhole often to keep the New Zealanders under a check in the last five overs which went for just 36 runs.
New Zealand started off in an explosive fashion with Jesse Ryder freeing his arms in the very first over of the match. However, Ryder lasted only 16 balls to score 18 before he was bowled by Mohammed Shami in the 4th over. Shami struck again in the 8th over when he had Martin Guptill slashing him to first slip where Ashwin held onto a fast flying edge.
India failed to make further inroads having put the Kiwis on the backfoot at 32 for 2. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor took their time to get in and once they did, the Kiwis were firmly back in the contest. Williamson batted beautifully against the spinners to score 71 from 88 balls. Ross Taylor worked hard to score 55 from 82 balls before he was caught behind slashing a widish slower one from Shami.
The homeside were well set for the slog overs thanks to the 121-run stand between Williamson and Taylor for the 3rd wicket. Skipper Brendon McCullum sustained the momentum with a 25-ball 30. The real impetus to the innings came from Anderson and Luke Ronchi. While the Kiwi wicket keeper slogged 30 from 18 balls, it was Corey J Anderson, who stayed right till the end to give a sound finish. Anderson smacked four big sixes in his 68. The left-hander who recently broke the world record for the fastest ODI century scored his half century in just the 30 balls.
For India, Mohammed Shami bowled efficiently for his 4 for 55 in 9 overs although he was taken for 19 in an over. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was spared from the carnage which let him finish his 10 overs for just 38 runs besides taking the key wicket of Brendon McCullum.
Toss and Teams: India have won the toss and opted to bowl first in the First ODI at the McLean Park in Napier.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum (C), Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi (WK), Nathan McCullum, Tim Southee, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma