1st T20I vs NZ: Nehra bows out in style as India register 53-run win

New Delhi: India rode on a terrific all-round display to register their first ever T20I win over New Zealand in the shortest format of the game as they thrashed the visitors by 53 runs at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Wednesday to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Courtesy India’s dominant victory, Pakistan have went past New Zealand to reach to the top of the T20I rankings. The Indians began on a positive note in Ashish Nehra’s last international match as openers Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma hit the New Zealand bowlers with ease.

The duo hammered the Kiwi bowlers all round the park as they registered a 158-run opening partnership. But New Zealand made a brief comeback in the 17th over when Ish Sodhi got the wickets of Dhawan and Pandya. But skipper Virat Kohli’s quickfire 26 from just 11 balls and a huge six from MS Dhoni helped India cross the 200-run mark, in pursuit of their first T20I win against the visitors.

In reply, Yuzvendra Chahal and Bhuvneshwar Kumar got India off to a flying start as the leg-spinner dismissed Martin Guptill courtesy a wonderful catch from Pandya. Bhuvneshwar Kumar also got into the act as he nailed in one yorker that disturbed the woodwork behind Colin Munro.

Tom Latham, who has been the only New Zealand batsman to have shown some fight so far in the tour made a crucial 39 and contributions from skipper Kane Williamson 28 and Mitchell Santner 27 n.o. wasn’t enough to take them over the line. New Zealand, in the end, fell short by 53 runs. Axar Patel was the best bowler with two wickets, as he conceded twenty runs only.

However, the focus was all on Ashish Nehra who was wearing the Indian jersey for the very last time. The long-serving paceman has seen a lot of development in Indian cricket ever since his debut in 1999 and although his career was marred with injuries, the left-armer never failed to make a comeback and when the time seemed right, he made an impact almost instantly, as if he had just begun playing for India. His career might not have been about the big numbers but it was definitely one of grit, spirit, heart and determination.

It was fitting that skipper Kohli handed him the ball for the last over of the match and thus, the speedster bowed out in style with an India’s maiden T20I victory against New Zealand.

Brief scores-

India 202/3 (Shikhar Dhawan 80, Rohit Sharma 80; Ish Sodhi 2/25) beat New Zealand 149/8 (Tom Latham 39, Kane Williamson 28; Axar Patel 2/20) by 53 runs.

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