India cast aside talk of travel fatigue with half-centuries from Lokesh Rahul and Shreyas Iyer headlining an emphatic run chase to beat New Zealand with an over to spare in the opening Twenty20 match in Auckland Friday.
Man of the match Iyer hit the winning runs with a booming six to be unbeaten on 58 as India reached 204 for four in reply to New Zealand’s 203 for five.Opener Rahul (56) set up the run chase in a 99-run stand off 50 balls for the second wicket with captain Virat Kohli (45).
Although the tourists only arrived in New Zealand on Tuesday, Kohli said they were determined that would not be a factor in how they approached the game.
A 200-plus score on most grounds would usually be a formidable target in Twenty20 cricket but it is not so imposing at Auckland’s Eden Park with its short boundaries. New Zealand also did not help their defence of 203 by bowling 10 wides and missing wicket opportunities with sloppy fielding.
Kohli won the first play of the day when he called correctly at the toss and elected to bowl.
Half-centuries by Colin Munro (59), Kane Williamson (51) and Ross Taylor (54 not out) formed the basis of the New Zealand innings. When India started their run chase, New Zealand took the bold option of throwing the new ball to spinner Mitchell Santner for the second over and after conceding 12 off his first three deliveries the left-armer claimed the wicket of Rohit Sharma for seven.