Mumbai: India was left stunned by an all-round performance by New Zealand as the Kane Williamson led side defeated the hosts by six wickets in the first ODI played at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday to take a 1-0 lead in the three match series.
Winning the toss and opting to bat first, the Indians didn’t get to the best of starts as a returning Shikhar Dhawan along with vice-captain Rohit Sharma couldn’t handle Trent Boult as the left-arm speedster dismissed the both of them within 3.2 overs to dent India’s chances of putting up a good and a challenging total.
But then came Virat Kohli who was playing his 200th ODI and the Indian skipper didn’t sqaunder this opportunity to make a statement with the bat as he fought a lone battle to score a magnificent 121 of 125 balls to take India to a decent 280/8 in their 50 overs. Kohli, with this ton overtook Australian great Ricky Ponting’s tally of 30 ODI hundreds and now he stands just behind the legendary Sachin Tendulkar who had 59 tons to his name in 50-over cricket.
He also became the second batsman in international cricket to score a ton in his 200th ODI after Proteas star AB De Villiers had achieved the same feat.
Barring Kohli, no other batsman in the team made it to even a fifty. While a lot of them in the middle order got starts like Dinesh Karthik (37), Kedar Jadhav (12) and MS Dhoni (25), none failed to convert it into a big score as even the captain acknowledged that they had fallen 30-40 runs short of posting a challenging total.
Trent Boult was the most successful bowler for the Kiwis as he took four wickets, conceding only 35 runs.
New Zealand in reply got off to a steady start as openers Martin Guptill (32) and Colin Munro (28) put up 48 runs for the first wicket before Jasprit Bumrah dismissed the left-hander in the 10th over.
It didn’t take long for both Guptill and skipper Kane Williamson to fall as the visitors were reduced to 80/3 at point of time. But a game-changing 200-run partnership between veteran Ross Taylor and Tom Latham took the game away completely from the Indians as no bowler could make an impact. The duo dominated the game with the singles and doubles and the occasional big hits and looked always in control of the match. The Indians had something to cheer about when Taylor was dismissed by Bhuvneshwar Kumar at the end for a well-made 95 but that joy was short-lived as the new batsman Henry Nicholls hit a four in the very next ball to help New Zealand shock India with a six-wicket win and an over to spare.
Latham was adjudged the Man of the Match for his fluent 103 of 102 deliveries as the Indians head to Pune for a do-or-die encounter.
India 280/8 (Virat Kohli 121, Dinesh Karthik 37; Trent Boult 4/35) lost to New Zealand 284/4 (Tom Latham 103 n.o, Ross Taylor 95; Hardik Pandya 1/46) by six wickets