After recording the historic ODI series win in Australia, the Virat Kohli led Indian side carried on the winning run in the first ODI against New Zealand in Napier. After bowling out the hosts for 157 in 38 overs, the visitors chased down the target in the 35th over with 8 wickets still in hand. The opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan scored his 27th ODI fifty, hitting 75 runs in 103 balls, to take India home.
The bowlers, though, remained the star for the men in blue in the comfortable win. After being asked to bowl first, the seamer Mohammed Shami got rid of Kiwis openers in his first two overs. The right-armer cleaned up Martin Guptill for 5 in the 2nd over, after which he knocked down Colin Munro’s stumps in the 4th over.
After the early onslaught from the fast bowler, the Indian spinners weaved their magic as Yuzvendra Chahal dismissed the highly experienced Ross Taylor and Tom Latham in quick succession. Shami returned to dismiss Mitchell Santer to pick his third wickets in the match, after which the chinaman Kuldeep Yadav joined the party.
The left-armer dismissed Kiwis skipper Kane Wiliamson for 64, after which he rattled the tailenders to end up with figures of 4/39 in his 10 overs. Shami, on the other end finished with figures of 19/3 in his six overs, thus solidifying his name in the hat for World Cup squad selection. The bowler was recognised as the man of the match for his performance.
India’s chase was interrupted after Rohit Sharma’s dismissal in the 9th over when Dhawan complained that the sunlight was directly falling in his eyes, thus making it difficult to spot the ball.
The play was halted for 30 minutes after which the target was reduced to 156 runs in 49 overs. Umpire Shaun Haig had explained the situation at the break. “The setting sun is directly in the eyes of the batsmen. So we got to consider the safety of the players, umpires. So we have decided to suspend play until conditions improve.”
After the play resumed, skipper Virat Kohli and Dhawan added 91 runs together after which the former was dismissed for 45. The left-handed batsman finished down the chase with Ambati Rayudu as India took a 1-0 lead in the 5-match ODI series.
The two teams will meet again for the 2nd ODI on Saturday at Mount Maunganui.