Quick half-centuries from Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul helped India beat New Zealand by six wickets in a run-fest at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday (January 24).
India chased down a target of 204 with one over to spare, Iyer top-scoring with an unbeaten 58 off 29 and Rahul smashing 56 off 27 at the top, while Virat Kohli played a supporting hand of 45 from 32. New Zealand had earlier posted a competitive total thanks to three half-centuries: Colin Munro's 59 off 42, Ross Taylor's 54* off 27 and Kane Williamson's 51 off 26.
Jasprit Bumrah's spell of 1 for 31 was the only notable performance by a bowler.
India lost Rohit Sharma in the second over of the chase, the opener trying to slog Mitchell Santner but getting a top edge to point. However, Rahul and Kohli shared a 99-run stand in 50 balls to set the base.
Rahul played some audacious strokes, using the short straight boundaries to his advantage. He was also strong on the whip shot, playing the pick up shot against the pacers for sixes.
He was also fortunate when on 27, Tim Southee missed a simple run out chance to hand him a reprieve. New Zealand also missed another crucial chance when Ish Sodhi dropped Kohli at third man on 33.
Rahul and Kohli fell in quick succession, both to wonderful catches from Southee and Martin Guptill respectively, leaving India 83 to get off 53. Shivam Dube hit 13 off 9 and fell, but Iyer took over.
Iyer took on Sodhi for a six and a four, before moving on to the pacers. Southee and Hamish Bennett were not spared either, as Iyer hit three sixes and five fours in all.
Put into bat, New Zealand had a great start as openers Munro and Guptill put on an 80-run stand.
Dube provided India with the first breakthrough when Rohit took a brilliant catch on the boundary to dismiss Guptill who scored 30 off 19 balls.
Skipper Williamson then joined forces with Munro and took the New Zealand score to 116 before the left-handed opener was sent packing by Shardul Thakur in the 12th over.
Colin de Grandhomme, who came in next, didn't trouble the scorers as he was sent home by left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja in just his second ball of the spell. However, those two quick wickets didn't deter the hosts as Taylor and Williamson stitched a 61-run partnership and took the Black Caps' total to 178 before the skipper was dismissed by leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.
While Bumrah did look his brilliant self and gave away just four runs from the 18th over and picked the wicket of Tim Seifert, Taylor looked to take Mohammed Shami to task in the 19th as he started with a boundary. But the senior pro came back strongly and gave away just 9 runs from the over. He overall conceded 53 in his four overs.
Bumrah twisting his ankle in the last over meant that he didn't look his usual self and gave away 12 runs.
(With agency inputs)